Can you change the difficulty in The Ascent?

Zoning out.

Update: The option to change difficulty was added in the day one patch of The Ascent. To change your difficulty, simply click Settings on the Main Menu, and then select Gameplay. In the Gameplay options, Difficulty will be the top option. Scroll through the options left to right to change it. There are three difficulties to choose from, Easy, Normal, and Hard.

At the moment, for those playing The Ascent on Xbox Game Pass, there is a current problem with the title not receiving updates—so the day one patch, which includes the difficulty options, is not yet available. Once this has been rectified, all platforms will have the choice of difficulty.

Old: The short answer is no. You cannot change the difficulty in The Ascent. Due to how the game exploration works, there are multiple zones that house higher-leveled enemies that you may randomly encounter as you wander around.

Meaning, you have to level yourself up by completing missions, killing enemies, taking down bounties, etc., to level up, and then enter these areas later on when you don't die in one shot.

Related: Is there a penalty for dying in The Ascent?

No zones are shown, no areas are level on the map. It's pure chance if you go into these areas. When progression is made, you'll end up having to go into these high-leveled areas for a mission or memorize the location and come back when you think you can take them down.

It's strange for an Action Role-Playing game not to have multiple difficulties to choose from that can offer boons such as more loot and experience in exchange for dealing with more powerful enemies, like the Diablo franchise.

The problem with zoned difficulty is that you cannot explore as much as you want to. Even though dying holds no consequence, getting one-shotted by a mob three times your level is not good for those who don't like being held back.

Check out some of ProGameGuides other articles on The Ascent!

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About the Author

Hey, my name is Mark, and I'm a video game enthusiast! My earliest memory was playing Worms on the Amiga against my Godmother, yes the Amiga, massive box type thing, needed eighty-five thousand floppy disks to play one game, maybe a slight exaggeration. Ah, those were the days! I love RPG’s, and The Legend of Zelda series. Dogs are pretty awesome.
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  1. This game is wayyyyy too hard its almost not fun to play. Its a shame too really good looking game but too hard. Luckily i have game pass, i would never pay for this game. NEVER!!!!!

  2. That’s not true, there are no difficulty options. I play on Xbox Series S

    1. I’m on xbox one its on easy but it feels like the difficulty is turned up to insane. Its s beautiful looking game but not fun when your die constantly.

    2. There wasn’t for me in the review build, but when changing over and getting the day one update, they appeared. It makes no sense, having one platform having difficulty options and the others not.

      1. On Xbox Series S no update available

        1. Wow that is pretty appalling in all honesty. I’ve amended my guide with this new information.

          From how the game is it makes sense to have no difficulty options. I was surprised when they appeared for PC.

          1. Apparently there is a problem with the Gamepass version

          2. That explains it then. Hopefully, it gets fixed soon!