Hardened is the middle of the three standard difficulties. Harder than Normal, but not as hard Veteran, Hardened Mode should be considered the standard for above average players. Hardened Mode enemies and bosses are more numerous and have more health than Normal Mode, or Recruit, but do not possess their Nightmare abilities. The set of Items dropped each chapter is the same as Normal and Veteran difficulties. On a final note, there is no Text command to manually trigger Hardened, it is based purely on combination all players are above the prerequisite Experience and the Squad Rating falls within the set parameters.