When starting a new game, there various modes that are available, some of them being unlockable. Each one has different startup conditions and can differ in particular difficulty settings once in the game.
Storyline Game ModesEdit
These are the storyline or campaign games. The protagonist (main character) is Julian Brennan, a human male aged 21.
Average difficulty. Player starts with a Buster and 5000 credits. When one finishes all the storyline missions in this mode, it unlocks the anonymous Argon game mode.
Easy difficulty. The player starts with 100,000 credits, a nicely equipped buster, as well as a mercury (cargo transporter) with only 2 5mj shields and a singularity time accelerator. The enemy AI is slow and foolish. Finishing Quickstart mode does not appear to unlock any additional modes. There is also a significant auto-aim or aim-assist which forces one's projectiles towards the lead crosshair. This makes it much easier to hit predictable enemies but can make it more difficult to hit unpredictable enemies.
Hard difficulty. Player starts with 450 credits, a buster, 1 5mj shield, 2 beta IREs, and only a boost extension, singularity engine time accelerator, and video enhancement goggles. Unlike in Quickstart mode, X-TREME mode has no aim-assist which makes it much more difficult to hit maneuverable ships unless the player is very good.
Non-Storyline Game ModesEdit
These game modes are unlocked by default (the player can pick them right after starting up the game for the first time). They do not follow the storyline and do not have any campaign missions.
Average difficulty. The player starts with an M5 Argon ship.
"Not all that hard" difficulty. The player starts with a TS class and an M5 class Argon ship. The enemy AI seems to be more challenging than in Quickstart mode the aim-assist, however, appears to be the same.
When one gets to a certain point in this game, possibly 15 million credits, one unlocks the Savage Split game mode.
"Most assuredly hard" difficulty. The player starts with a Split M3 Mamba with 2 HEPT weapons. Player starts with zero credits!
Unlockable Non-Storyline Game ModesEdit
These game modes must be unlocked in the other game modes. None of them follow the storyline or have any campaign missions.
Average difficulty. The player starts with an M5 argon ship with no weapons and only a 1 MJ shield.
"Slightly hard." The player starts with 1400 credits, a split M5, 2 1 MJ shields, 4 Alpha PACs, and some ship improvements.