XCOM: Chimera Squad has 4 main difficulty levels:
- Story - It can be treated as a story mode in which opponents don't pose a big challenge. This is an optimum choice for those who are playing the XCOM series for the first time, and for those who are only interested in experiencing the story. Also all agents have much better stats than this wiki suggests.
- Normal - The standard difficulty level and recommended choice for the first playthrough. The game offers a balanced challenge that shouldn't cause much frustration.
- Expert - Fights with enemies are much more challenging. This increases the chance that someone on the team can get knocked to the ground or that you will need to repeat the mission.
- Impossible - The highest difficulty level is very demanding.
Depending on chosen difficulty, you start the game with 80/60/50/50 Intel, 200/150/145/130 Credits, and 90/70/65/55 Elerium. Regardless of the main difficulty level chosen, you can also enable or change additional difficulty modifiers. They are:
- Ironman - manual saves are unavailable in this mode. You only have to rely on a single autosave. Fortunately, if you fail a mission, you will be able to replay it. The advantage of this mode is that you don't have to keep remembering to save your game.
- Hardcore - This is the most extreme difficulty level. A defeat in a mission automatically ends the entire campaign - the saves get deleted forcing you to play the campaign from the beginning.
- Extended City Anarchy - this facilitation is related to the level of Anarchy in City 31. It gives you 5 extra points to the Anarchy bar. As a result, the city can survive for longer before the Anarchy reigns - this will lead to Game Over.
- Tutorial - It is best to leave on for your initial playthrough, as XCOM Chimera Squad has many completely new or changed mechanics. Disabling the Tutorial has the advantage that you can choose the four initial agents freely. Also, all facilities (except Scavenger Market), resources, and Field Teams are immediately unlocked.
- Heal Between Encounters - Encounters are separate battles played as part of a single mission. A single mission can consist of 1-3 Encounters. You can allow team members to be fully healed after an Encounter, recover only up to half of their HP, or have the healing disabled. The last option is, of course, the most difficult - if you play a longer mission, you will have to complete it with the limited health points and Medikits. On the other hand, for 1 Encounter Missions this setting has no effect.
Note you can change the main difficulty level (and Heal Between Encounters setting) during a playthrough. To do this, you need to select Change Difficulty option in the Pause menu. The difficulty will change in the next mission - you can't make the current battle easier.