[Review] The Binding of Isaac

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[Review] The Binding of Isaac

by Smeemo » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:46 pm

The Binding of Isaac & Wrath of the Lamb DLC
The Binding of Isaac: released September 28, 2011. Price: $4.99
Wrath of the Lamb (DLC): released May 28, 2012. Price: $2.99

Purchase The Binding of Isaac:

Purchase Wrath of the Lamb (DLC):

Divine Command Theory posits a definitive answer to one of humanity's oldest questions: where does our morality come from? The answer: God. That is to say, nothing is good simply because there is a reason for it to be good, unless that reason is "because God says so." Enter The Binding of Isaac, a modern retelling of the Old Testament story of Abraham and his son Isaac... er, sort of. This time, though, the sacrifice-called-Isaac isn't so lucky, and must escape through a basement that would put the most devoted S&M enthusiast to shame (looking at you, Snowsickle). In the Old Testament, Abraham hears a voice telling him to kill his son. Clearly, Abraham thought, this is the voice of God, and since whatever God commands is moral and just, the command must be obeyed. So Abraham drags his son Isaac up a mountain, brandishes a knife, and almost completes the holy deed before God says, "lol jk just testing you."


But God isn't joking with Mom; he wants those fucking babies dead. And so Isaac must venture deeper and deeper into the depths, defeating not only his own inner demons, but also his twisted, mutilated siblings, gaining strength and with it the self-confidence he needs to attempt revenge against his psychopathic mother.

Isaac's mom

For those of you who don't give a damn about the origin of ethics, I have some great news: The Binding of Isaac is a great shooter/RPG that can and should be enjoyed by all fans of action/adventure games. There's even something for you pony lovers, though standing around chatting in this game will only get you a free trip to the title screen.


As Isaac, you must explore each randomly-generated 2D level until you confront that level's boss with your ability to shoot in four directions. Oh, and there are items. And really, that's about it. The genius of this game is the sheer variety the developers throw at you, along with one key feature from the roguelike genre: permadeath. Isaac only has one life (barring your discovery of a certain feline-themed item, that is), and there are no continues; lose all your hearts because you're bad and can't dodge for shit? Start over with nothing. You must learn enemy movement and attack patterns and use the tools at your disposal wisely, or pay the price.

Starting over is something you'll be doing a lot of in this game, and while losing can be frustrating as you get closer to Mom, you're guaranteed the next play-through will be nothing like the last one. With over a hundred items and randomly-generated dungeons, you're sure to be entertained for hours. A big part of Isaac is experimenting with items about which you are absolutely clueless until you try them once. One such example of experimenting took place when I found an item called Mom's Coin Purse, which spawned all sorts of colorful pills around my feet. Chuckling at the game's L4D2 "Pills here!" reference and reminiscing about the good ol' college days, I popped one mysterious pill after another. One increased my speed. One made me grow pubes on my bald head. Another made my bullets weaker. And another left a contorted expression on my face for the remainder of the game, and had no other discernible effect. It's pretty amusing to see what permanent visual effect an item will have on your character, especially in later levels where particularly powerful upgrades will leave you with black wings, demonic-looking tails, angelic halos, and the like.

The graphics and audio in this game are top-notch for such a modestly-priced title. The art style is appropriately dark, but the cartoonish look to everything helps keep it lighthearted. Background music changes as you progress, and there's some great boss music, as well. Drips, kersplodes, splats, and the like are all properly executed, here. While the superb gameplay is at the core of Isaac's appeal, I appreciated the high level of polish that makes the game that much better than it already is.

Wrath of the Lamb

The DLC dubbed Wrath of the Lamb was released in May, 2012. Featuring new bosses, level types, and so much more STUFF, Wrath of the Lamb is, like the game it builds upon, a tremendous value for gamers on a budget. Boasting upwards of 250 items, there's really no reason not to buy the DLC along with the original Isaac. Like shooters? Like RPGs? Then what are you waiting for? Get out there and kill the fuck out of Mom, already.
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Re: [Review] The Binding of Isaac

by MrElTacoTeh3rd » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:22 pm

Just going to plain say it, Love this game.
.: - | MrElTacoTeh3rd| - :.
Don't give up just try a little less.
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