Impossible? No. Hard? You’re damn right it is.
Beating Back 4 Blood on Nightmare difficulty is going to take hours of grinding. No way around that. But instead of just playing aimlessly, hoping one day it will pay off and you’ll finally beat Nightmare difficulty, let us help point you in the right direction.
Nightmare doesn’t just throw stronger enemies at you; and it ramps up every challenge in the game. Nests have more nodes for you to destroy, corruption cards are far more damaging, and the number of mutations you encounter grows with each level. Knowing what to expect and where will help you overcome the extra challenging obstacles in your path.
Nightmare is not the hardest difficulty in the game. That award goes to No Hope difficulty. And while No Hope features even stronger ridden, more variations, and just unfair circumstances in general, you start with your entire deck, which is awesome. In Nightmare, you still only unlock one card in your deck at a time, which makes each level precarious.
Before you can beat Nightmare with any character, you have to beat it with one character. To that end, make sure you’ve experimented with the weapons and characters enough to know what your strengths are and which character best fits you. Go through Nightmare a few times with that build and ensure you have the confidence to start branching out.
Once you’re ready, here’s how to beat Back 4 Blood on Nightmare difficulty with any character.
Build an adaptable deck
Nightmare difficulty throws a lot of corruption cards at you throughout a single playthrough. Some of those cards can seriously make or break your run. Monstrous or ferocious mutations are one thing, but when you see that Biohazard card, you know it will be a rough level.
You want to build a deck with cards that allow you to adapt to the level. If you do not need a card, you can always choose a standard card that buffs health, ammo capacity, stamina, or copper instead.
It’s better to have the card in your deck than to rely on it showing up somewhere in the level. Yes, Nightmare difficulty does have more intel and cards to purchase, but they are unreliable. If you want damage buffs, it’s best to stack them in your deck. If someone else on your team ends up bringing damage buffs, you can always pick something else instead.
This is especially helpful for cards like Pure Chaos or Cost of Avarice. Having a card that increases how many grenades you can carry or buffs molotov damage will make Pure Chaos work in your favor.
Play with friends, or don’t.
Sometimes, playing online with friends can help your runs. Sometimes, the exact opposite is true.
If you’ve been playing with bots exclusively, changing things up might help your gameplay. Playing online, even with randoms, can help you learn strategies you didn’t know about or earn you friends to play with in the future. Even random lobbies can be a positive experience if you all have the same goal: beating Nightmare.
Similarly, if you’ve only ever played online, you might want to try running through with the bots to see how it feels. If you’re only online, then you’re more than experienced with people quitting the moment things get tough or not knowing how to play the game.
The struggle is real.
But the bots aren’t that bad in our experience. They have better aim than we do, can ping mutations through walls, and seem to spawn their own healing items. Keeping them alive might be more rewarding than reviving that jerk who keeps running ahead and getting killed.
Of course, bots are professionals at running in front of you when you’re aiming, so bringing Down In Front in your deck is a wise move.
Whenever we got fed up with people, we found switching up our teammates helped.
The goal is to become so acquainted with each level in B4B that you can identify them by their title. You should know what you’re heading into every time you leave the safe room. Starting and finale chapters are easy enough to distinguish, but it’s all the middle chapters that can trip you up.
Is this the chapter where you’re running through the woods or the one with lots of cabins? Is this the one where you search for a battery or containers of medicine? Is the golden skull hidden behind the bushes or stashed in that chicken coup?
Nightmare difficulty is meant to be played only when your familiarity with the game is high. Super high. Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogan high.
Run through Recruit and Veteran until you feel confident every time you pick a card for your deck. You should know where the boss will spawn, where potential chokepoints are, and where healing stations will be. When the safe room doors open, you need to know your goal and waste no time pursuing it.
This knowledge only comes from lots of gameplay. And, we hate to say it, lots of dying. It took us a couple of tries before we identified all the most dangerous places in each level and anticipated them accordingly. You want to know where each level gets bad and where each level gives you a breather.
It’s worse than it looks.
Ridden hit hard in Nightmare difficulty. Mutated-Ridden hit even more challenging. And trauma damage is no joke when it starts to stack in later levels throughout your run.
It should be a high priority that you don’t get hit in Nightmare. At all. Keep your back to a wall as much as possible. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Half your health bar will disappear in seconds when a horde comes, and recovering that trauma damage is not easy.
Even sprinting through each level, you should minimize how often you find yourself in the open. The fewer chances there are for a horde to fully surround you, the better.
Because once you see ridden closing in from all sides, it’s already too late.
Different characters, different playstyles
If your goal is to beat Nightmare difficulty with each cleaner and get those badass ZWAT skins, you’ll need to adapt your playstyle to each character.
Sure, you can probably make a decent Hoffman-melee build, but it would be undeniably weird. Likewise, in theory, a Holly sniper build could work, but you’d be wasting Holly’s innate skills.
Play to each character’s strengths.
Elijah Walker and Jim Hossler are good snipers; they should have decks that stack damage and exploit weak spots. Hoffman and Heng are accessory masters and should be coupled with cards that buff grenades and molotovs.
Sharice and Holly Forrester are natural melee characters; that’s plain to see; give them some melee cards and let them go. Mom and Evangelo are unique on their own but have strengths just the same as everyone else. Doc is the obvious healer, and Karlee is a great scout.
If you’re good with machine guns and melee weapons but find that you’re struggling to beat Nightmare with Mom, then it’s time to change the way you play to fit Mom’s style. And maybe change your deck, too.
You and your deck must be adaptable to make it through Nightmare and all the horrors it has to throw at you.
When all else fails, run. RUN!
It’s pretty damn obvious when you think about it. Yes, every zombie movie, book, or show features cool guns and weapons and lots of death. But plenty of survivors barely waste any time fighting and instead lace up their running shoes and book it.
Just run if you’re struggling to adapt to each character’s playstyle.
If the combinations of ferocious bruisers, monstrous ogres, and blighted ridden are killing you relentlessly, just run.
Run past them all.
Running was a severely broken meta when B4B first came out. Plenty of gamers found themselves outrunning every enemy in the game and beating Nightmare, not just without damage but in record times.
Developers were not happy.
Still, despite Turtle Rock Studios‘ best attempts to reduce the running meta, it lives on today. Building a deck that has speed cards like Running Shoes or Mad Dash can make you outrun your competition.
Speed should be considered for your deck, even if you’re going for damage or a specific character build. More speed never hurts, and with greater difficulties, it may, in fact, be what saves you from a bloody death.
Final thoughts on beating nightmare difficulty with any character
Back 4 Blood’s Nightmare difficulty is no worse than any other…Just kidding, it’s way harder.
But running through Nightmare will become considerably easier after you’ve put in the repetitions, the hours, and the deaths. Then you can set your sights on all the glorious content waiting for you, the Tunnels of Terror DLC.