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* VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening: Completing the game on [[HarderThanHard Lunatic Mode]] unlocks Lunatic+, which is similar to Lunatic, but every enemy is randomly given two extra skills, chosen at random from a special pool, these skills are enemy exclusive, and extremely unbalanced, such as one that makes all attacks hit, or regular skills with their activation requirements removed, so they always work.


* ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'': The games have unlockable difficulty settings, which are different between the versions. ''Black 2'' contains Challenge Mode and ''White 2'' contains Easy Mode. These aren't version exclusive, however, as these modes can be sent to other player's games once unlocked.

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* ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'': The games have unlockable difficulty settings, settings after beating the game, which are different between the versions. ''Black 2'' contains a Challenge Mode Mode, which raises the level of trainer Pokémon, with the Gym Leaders and Elite Four using held items, having new movesets, and an extra Pokémon on their team. Meanwhile, ''White 2'' contains a Easy Mode. Mode where opponents have their levels lowered. These modes aren't necessarily version exclusive, however, as these modes can but to get the one that your respective title doesn't have, they must be sent from another player with the opposite version who has the mode unlocked on theirs via the "Unova Link" feature. Doing this will also allow the receiving player to other player's games once unlocked.make use of the mode from the start.


* ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'': Completing the game unlocks the hardcore difficulty setting. Beating that in turn unlocks the "insanity" level.

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* ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'': Completing the game unlocks the hardcore Hardcore difficulty setting. Beating that in turn unlocks the "insanity" level.Insanity difficulty.

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* ''VideoGame/TheAngryVideoGameNerdAdventures'': Completing the game on "Old School" difficulty unlocks "Hard as Balls", completing that unlocks "[[OneHitPointWonder Fucking Impossible]]", and completing ''that'' unlocks "[[FinalDeathMode YOLO]]".


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* ''VideoGame/BloodstainedCurseOfTheMoon'': Only Normal difficulty is available from the start, but you unlock the other two depending on how you played the game. If you recruit all 3 party members, you unlock Nightmare mode. If you kill all 3 party members and take their soul powers, you unlock Ultimate mode.

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* ''Franchise/DeadSpace'': All 3 of the games offer a HarderThanHard mode once you've beaten the game.
** ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' keeps the Impossible difficulty locked until you've beaten the game.
** ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2'' features the Hardcore difficulty where you can only save 3 times.
** ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3'': Unlocks a reworked Hardcore difficulty featuring PermaDeath and two other modes, one of which which disable CoOpMultiplayer and makes the game play more similarly to the previous titles, and one which turns off the MoneySpider effect, forcing the player to craft resources.


* ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'': Beat Normal to unlock Hard, and defeat that to unlock Expert.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'': Beat Normal to unlock Hard, and defeat that to unlock Expert.Ultimortal difficulty is unlocked after completing Extreme.


Subtrope of UnlockableContent. As mentioned, may lead to FakeLongevity. Related to EarnYourFun, when more skilled gamers find the default difficulty levels too easy for their tastes.

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Subtrope of UnlockableContent. As mentioned, may lead to FakeLongevity. Related to EarnYourFun, when more skilled gamers find the default difficulty levels too easy for their tastes.
tastes. Compare NewGamePlus, in which a subsequent playthrough carries over content earned the first time around; the game may be made more difficult to compensate.


* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' and [[VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle its sequel]] have three dificulty levels: Sweet, Mild and Bitter. In both games, Bitter is accessible upon first completion.

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* ''VideoGame/MightyNo9'': Players start out with Normal mode upon start from a new system save file, and after beating the game for the first time, they unlock Hard and Hyper modes. Maniac mode is however only available as a DLC.
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' and [[VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle its sequel]] have three dificulty difficulty levels: Sweet, Mild and Bitter. In both games, Bitter is accessible upon first completion.


* A recurring feature in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'', often mixed with NewGamePlus: After beating the first quest of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'', players gain access to the (even harder) second quest. The 3DS remake of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' unlocks Master Quest (originally a separate harder version of the game in GCN), with the added perks of stronger damage by enemies and a mirrored overworld. ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" unlocked upon beating the game once where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.

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* A recurring feature in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'', often mixed with NewGamePlus: NewGamePlus.
**
After beating the first quest of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'', players gain access to the (even harder) second quest. quest.
**
The 3DS remake of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' unlocks Master Quest (originally a separate harder version of the game in GCN), with the added perks of stronger damage by enemies and a mirrored overworld. overworld.
**
''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" unlocked upon beating the game once where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.


* ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' and [[VideoGame/Bayonetta2 its sequel]] have the Hard and Infinite Climax difficulties locked behind beating the entire game on Normal nd Hard, respectively.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' and [[VideoGame/Bayonetta2 its sequel]] have the Hard and Infinite Climax difficulties locked behind beating the entire game on Normal nd and Hard, respectively.


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* ''VideoGame/BulletWitch'': From the outset, players can start the game on Easy, Normal, and Hard modes. After clearing the Hard mode, players can replay the game on Chaos mode, and upon clearing Chaos modes unlocks Hell mode.


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* ''VideoGame/CrescentPaleMist'': You start out with Pumpkin Knight (Easy), Magic Knight (Normal), and Sacred Knight (Hard) difficulties on a new save file, but the two higher difficulties, Terror Knight (Fear) and Knight of Nightmare (Planeriel) require you to not only find an item hidden in one of the stages, the former also requires you kill a total of 8,000 enemies and beat Sacred Knight mode to unlock it on the original PC version, and simply beating that difficulty unlocks the latter.


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* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'': Players start the game on its Normal difficulty, and upon clearing the game it starts a NewGamePlus on Hard mode on the cleared save file, and clearing the same save file on Hard mode will bring players to [[HarderThanHard Dante Must Die]] mode.
* ''VideoGame/DMCDevilMayCry'': Players can choose between Human (Easy), Devil Hunter (Normal), and Nephilim (Hard) difficulties when they start off a fresh save file. Beating the game on any of the three difficulties unlocks the Son of Sparda (Very Hard) mode, then beating the game again on that difficulty unlocks Heaven or Hell mode where you and the enemies can die in a single hit, and upon clearing that difficulty finally unlocks Hell and Hell mode, which only makes you die in a single hit instead.


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* ''VideoGame/Doom3'': After beating the game for the first time on any difficulty, players can unlock Nightmare difficulty, but if the player know their way around command-line arguments or changing a certain game setting in its config file, they can unlock it immediately without the work.
* ''VideoGame/Doom2016:'' Beating the game on Hurt Me Plenty or higher unlocks [[UpToEleven Ultra-Nightmare]], which is the same as the already brutal [[NintendoHard Nightmare]] difficulty but makes the player go through the entire game in a single life [[CheckpointStarvation without saving or checkpoints]], and if they die at any point on Ultra-Nightmare, they start back over from the beginning. Similarly to ''Doom 3'', however, it can also be unlocked early via a command-line argument or config edit.


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* ''VideoGame/{{SUGURI}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{sora}}'': In their unlockable Match Mode, where players can re-fight bosses on a 1-on-1 fight without going through their respective stages, they have access to Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulty levels for each boss. After beating them on Hard, it unlocks the Special difficulty, which not only makes the bosses much more brutal than the previous difficulties, they also employ powerful unique attacks only on this difficulty.


This gating of content is frequently reserved for the HarderThanHard difficulty.
There are multiple possible reasons for this: it could be meant as a bonus for players that prove they're hardcore enough to beat the vanilla hard mode, it encourages players trying out the vanilla hard mode before letting them jump right into the HarderThanHard mode, and/or helps pad out game time by encouraging multiple playthroughs.

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This gating of content is frequently reserved for the HarderThanHard difficulty.
difficulty. There are multiple possible reasons for this: it could be meant as a bonus for players that prove they're hardcore enough to beat the vanilla hard mode, it encourages players trying out the vanilla hard mode before letting them jump right into the HarderThanHard mode, and/or helps pad out game time by encouraging multiple playthroughs.



* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" unlocked upon beating the game once where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.
** After beating the first quest of VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI, players gain access to the (even harder) second quest.

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* A recurring feature in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'', often mixed with NewGamePlus: After beating the first quest of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'', players gain access to the (even harder) second quest. The 3DS remake of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' unlocks Master Quest (originally a separate harder version of the game in GCN), with the added perks of stronger damage by enemies and a mirrored overworld. ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" unlocked upon beating the game once where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.
** After beating the * All ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' games from ''[[VideoGame/MarioKart64 64]]'' onwards have four difficulty levels: 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and Mirror Mode. The first quest of VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI, players gain access three are available from the start, while Mirror is unlocked once you win all Gold Cups in 150cc.
* Later ''VideoGame/MarioParty'' games have each a Brutal or Intense AI level that adds
to the (even harder) second quest.standard Easy, Normal and Hard; the method of unlocking it depends on the game itself (in ''5'', you have to complete Story Mode in Hard; in ''7'', you can purchase it in the Duty-Free Shop with the mileage points you accumulate in the other modes; and so on).


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* Several ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' games have an unlockable Hard Mode (known as Hypermode in ''[[VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption Corruption]]'' and the ''[[VideoGame/MetroidPrimeTrilogy Trilogy]]'' compilation), accessible once the game is beaten for the first time.
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' and [[VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle its sequel]] have three dificulty levels: Sweet, Mild and Bitter. In both games, Bitter is accessible upon first completion.

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MercyMode is a subtrope where [[EasierThanEasy an easier than normal mode]] is unlocked when you do ''poorly''.

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** After beating the first quest of VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI, players gain access to the (even harder) second quest.


* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.

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* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" unlocked upon beating the game once where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.

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* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' both feature a "Hero Mode" where enemies hit harder and there are fewer health recovery items.

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