KH3 Best Difficulty - All Difficulties Explained And Which To Choose

Sora Fighting Heartless
What lurks in the most difficult modes of the game?

If you’re a fan of any of the previous Kingdom Hearts games, you may be familiar with the different difficulty modes. Throughout the series, they have remained relatively the same—in KH3, we have Beginner, Standard, Proud, and Critical Mode. Each difficulty presents different enemy strengths and handicaps for Sora. So… which difficulty is the best to choose for your playstyle?

1. Beginner Difficulty

This mode is pretty self-explanatory—if you enjoy the story itself more than the combat, or you’re just getting hang of the ropes, this one's for you! Though it’ll be harder to achieve the Secret Ending, you’ll be playing through the game like a breeze otherwise.

How it Works (Compared to Standard Mode):

  • You deal 1.5x more damage
  • Enemies deal 0.5x damage to you
  • EXP Gain is increased by 1.25x
  • To achieve the Secret Ending, you must photograph all Lucky Emblems

Choose Beginner Difficulty if:

  • You favor lore and KH3’s story over the combat
  • You’re just getting the hang of the ropes
  • This is your first Kingdom Hearts game of the franchise

2. Standard Difficulty

This is the recommended difficulty to play on. Like most other games, the Standard Difficulty is hard enough to present a challenge to players, while not taking away from the story of the game. While this difficulty isn’t exactly a walk in the park, it’s perfect for your average video game enjoyer!

How it Works:

  • You’ll deal damage to enemies as normal
  • Enemies will deal the normal amount of damage to you
  • EXP Gain is as normal
  • You’ll need to photograph 60 Lucky Emblems in order to unlock the Secret Ending

You should play on Standard Difficulty if:

  • You enjoy a regular challenge while also being indulged in Kingdom Hearts’ lore
  • You’re looking for that basic, tried-and-true Kingdom Hearts experience!

3. Proud Mode

If you’ve played any of the Kingdom Hearts games before—or are just very confident in yourself—you may recognize Proud Mode! It has quite the unique title, but is basically the  “Extreme” or “Hard” difficulty. Enemies are hard-hitters here, buuut you’ll be able to access the Secret Ending much easier than Beginner or Standard Mode.

How it Works:

  • You deal normal damage to enemies
  • Enemies deal 1.5x more damage to you
  • You’ll only need to photograph 30 Lucky Emblems in order to achieve the Secret Ending

Choose Proud Mode if:

  • You’re eager for a challenge
  • You’re familiar with the combat and mechanics of the game already
  • You’ve played intense fighting-games like Kingdom Hearts

4. Critical Mode (Beware!)

Ahh, yes. The notorious Critical Mode! If you thought Proud looked difficult, just you wait ‘till you see what difficulty this mode holds. This is only for the most daring of players, and is strongly recommended for those who have already played the game once or twice (or, y’know, maybe three times for good measure). There are a lot of restrictions and changes to this mode, so buckle in!

How it Works:

  • Your initial HP and MP are halved and rounded down.
  • HP and MP gained from Bonus Levels are halved and rounded down
  • You begin the game with only 58 Ability Points
  • It’ll take twice as long to build up Situation Commands
  • Compared to Standard Mode, Sora takes 2.0x + 10 damage from enemies
  • MP Charge takes 70 seconds
  • You only gain 75% EXP, compared to Standard Mode
  • By default, Sora learns the following:
    • Aerial Recovery
    • Counter Slash
    • Counter Kick
    • Counter Impact
    • Risk Dodge
    • Final Blow
    • Groundbreaker
    • Air Slide
    • Superslide
    • Combo Master
  • Before fighting Darkside and Shadows, Sora will have Soldier’s Earring pre-equipped
  • Instead of Links restoring all of Sora’s HP, they’ll only restore half

  • You’ll obtain Proof of Times Past when clearing Critical Mode

  • You will not need to photograph any Lucky Emblems to achieve the Secret Ending.


Whew! Now that we’ve got that listed…

Here’s Why You Might Want to Choose Critical Mode:

  • You’re extremely familiar with KH3’s gameplay already
  • All of the listed restrictions don’t bother you (or maybe they excite you, you little weirdo, you)
  • You’re hungry for the Ultimate Challenge!
  • You need Proof of Times past to craft Oblivion

Now you have an idea of each of the difficulties in Kingdom Hearts 3. There’s no wrong way to play the game, of course—just choose whatever mode feels right to you! Just know, once you choose a difficulty mode, you are not able to change it mid-game. You’ll have to restart if you’re not feeling the choice you made. Other than that, good luck on your journey!


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Residing in the tropics of south Texas, nature-enthusiast Jordan spends time with her two feline familiars, reading tomes of knowledge and sipping dandelion tea.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Ori and the Blind Forest
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Sims 4, Rocket League, Life is Strange

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