I’m a royal pain in the ass when it comes to trying out new games. It’s very easy for them to annoy me and for me to stop playing, assuming I even get started. Elder Scrolls Online for example pissed me off early on by making lockpicking, stealth and archery all a real pain in the backside. No, I wasn’t expecting Skyrim Online, but I expected, I don’t know, something better, especially since it costs so much just to play the base game, and they had subscriptions and now they have an in-game shop. The Binding of Isaac though is something else.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of rogue-likes. I enjoy saving my game and coming back to it later. The original Binding of Isaac game didn’t allow that one bit. If you had a game going, you either had to finish it in one go or quit, with a guilt-tripping message asking you if you wanted to let Isaac (or whatever character you were playing as) die. I felt bad enough constantly failing to lead Isaac around a horrific bible-based dungeon filled with more randomness than you can shake a stick at, but being told I was leaving the kid to die meant I rarely played.
Thing is, I DID like the game. I loved watching my siblings play. I just never played myself.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth changed all that. Kinda. I did preorder the game, funnily enough, it’s one of the few games I have actually pre-ordered, the other being Worms Reloaded, which gave me Worms Armageddon for free. I’ve played Worms Armageddon way more than Worms Reloaded, but for €10, I think it’s a good deal. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth also promised to be a good deal. I’d heard bits of the soundtrack, and it was actually really good. Also, we were promised some TF2 items to go with the game, which persuaded me to buy it. For my siblings, particularly Terroxy, it was icing on the cake. He’s a big fan of the people behind BOI and all that though, so he’ll buy any of their stuff. I think we can all remember what happened with those Binding of Isaac items though. A bunch of them got submitted but we ended up only getting the Brimstone item. Which sadly in-game looks more like a pair of croissants glued to one’s head. Still, all-class horn items are cool.
Back to the game itself. Rebirth offered a big new thing. Multiple game saves, so if you wanted to do a run where you hadn’t unlocked the D6 or you just wanted to start again, you could load a game save and do that. There are also new run-saves. You can close your current run, close the game and come back to it later. Great if you’re trying to get to the Chest on a particularly tricky build. Tons of new items and synergies were added, as well as bugs being fixed. No longer could you abuse the D6 and items like Scapular to roll every item in the game until you exhausted the item pool then crashed the game by picking up the bugged undefined item or filling the room with too many pickups. Now all you get is Breakfast, and the fact that you’re limited to max health, perma-Breakfast ain’t that useful.
The biggest downside to Rebirth was new controls. You can no longer use your mouse to fire tears, you’re forced to use arrow keys. This has made getting into Rebirth very hard for me.
That being said, I HAVE managed to beat Mom. It was my third run, my previous two ending up being cut short because of the Cage. That guy is a fucking bastard, nigh impossible if you have no damage items at all. On my third run, I was doing abysmally until I stumbled across a Dice Room. I picked a circle and it rerolled all my items. I suddenly had magnetic knockback tears that did tons of damage, a welcome change from the fuck all I had before.
After defeating Mom for the first time, the run ends and you have to play through to unlock the rest of the levels. I honestly kinda couldn’t be bothered and after messing around with the BASEMENT seed, I got bored and moved on.
The release of Afterbirth, a DLC that adds a fuckton of new content (and what I believe to be one of the few DLCs done properly), I decided to have a look again. I didn’t buy Afterbirth, I didn’t see much point. But I gave it all another go and I didn’t do too badly. Got to Utero II, before being killed by a bunch of those skull turret things in a room with no space to move around. Having picked up Thunder Thighs and a speed down, as well as only one damage up in the form of Jesus Juice, I simply couldn’t move or kill fast enough.
Thing is, Binding of Isaac is a pretty cool game. It’s not just a rogue-like, but it’s a bullet hell game too. The learning curve is actually not too bad, you just need to not be a clumsy klutz like I am. The soundtrack though is absolutely amazing and the art style is nice as well. Cartoony and grotesque at the same time. What appeals to me most though is the humor. It pisses on religious issues while still having a moral, based on how people can twist religion into horrible things and makes poop jokes. And I’ll be lying if I said that doesn’t bring a smile to my face.