Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a delightfully creepy rogue like game that features religion, creepy cute creatures, and disturbing imagery. The original game came out a few years ago and I was obsessed with that, but it had its flaws. The game wasn't really complete and had some bugs. Flash didn't do it any favors either. The art style, while cute, is simplistic and leaves something to b e desired. This new version made by Edmund McMillen and Nicalis and is superior in almost every way possible.
The new and old version share a story and the basic components that make the game addictive and fun. The story features a cute little boy named Isaac whose mother is very religious. God speaks to her multiple times to save her son from the evils of the world that have corrupted him. God finally asks her to kill him because he can no longer be saved and she attacks him with a knife. He escapes into the basement where our adventure begins. Isaac attacks creatures (who all look vaguely like him) with his tears. The villains and monsters are all disturbing and/or biblical in nature. As Isaac (or one of his other identities), you battle through pairs of levels starting with the Basement then working through the Caves, Depths (where you fight off Mom's hands and feet), to the Womb where you fight Mom's Heart and then It Lives, a fetus. After that, you choose to essentially go to heaven (the Cathedral) where you fight yourself or Hell (Sheol) where you fight the Devil. In the old version, Sheol leads nowhere and the Cathedral leads to the Chest where you fight your dead self. In Rebirth, Sheol leads the Dark Room where you fight the Lamb and the Chest is the same.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth looks and feels different, but the spirit of the game is the same. The art style is similar to the pixellated, retro style of the original Legend of Zelda games Isaac is based on. Even the backgrounds are much more detailed and dynamic. More playable characters are available including Lazarus, Azazel, Eden, and the Lost. Eden is the most awesome because you start with random stats, random health, and two random items. The Lost is the most horrible and rage inducing because it takes one hit to kill him. Plus if you want 100%, you have to beat everything on hard mode including boss rush with him. Rebirth has tons more bosses, monsters, endings, items, and even two new heart types (evil and eternal). The items sometimes synergize in interesting ways (not always good) and vary game play. There is now a hard mode that increases the frequency of challenge creatures and bosses and decreases the number of items dropped. The monsters actually move a little slower in Rebirth compared to the first game, making dodging a little easier, but the addition of the Lost more than makes up for it. New challenges are added to the mix. Some of them are crazy hard like Suicide King where you're own explosive tears try to kill you. Other challenges are just really fun to do like Darkness Falls where you start with the power of evil!
Rebirth isn't without flaws. Dr. Fetus has been made horrible and there's a weird glitchiness with explosions and projectiles near the lower wall of a room. Angel rooms kind of suck and give no incentive to pass up the way more awesome Devil deals. The map in the upper corner can cover things on the screen, which is a bit annoying. Other than those small things, I don't have any problems with The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I've played well over 500 hours. I beat the game once with my boyfriend and now I'm completing another save file all by myself. I plan to complete the third save file if Afterbirth doesn't come out soon. Afterbirth is the game expansion for rebirth that will have even more items, bosses, monsters, room variants, and characters. No release date has been posted yet, but Edmund McMillen posts small updates every Monday about the new expansion here.
My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins