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'[GAME] The Binding of Isaac'

This thread has been linked to the game 'The Binding of Isaac'.
Tue 01/01/13 at 23:49:
Regular
"Tip The Scales"
Posts: 869
The festive season has just gone past, the food was out, the drinks were flowing, and everyone was having a jolly good time. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly, isn't it? Unfortunately, a young friend of mine hasn't had such a great festive period recently. His name is Isaac, and let me tell you a story of how his last few days have gone.

Living alone, with his highly religious mother who is, in all honesty, a bit of a nutcase, Isaac has been secluded, stripped of his things and continually lambasted over his “impurity”. All of this pales into what happened to him the other day, though. Whilst minding his own business, sitting in the corner of his now empty room (thanks, Mom), his mother came in wielding a knife screaming sacrifice to the almighty lord. Fortunately, he managed to escape through a trap door...this was only the beginning, however.

Last time I saw him, he looked a bit odd, but he managed to escape eventually. The rest of the story...well, it's complicated. Good news though, it's been condensed into a game!

Binding of Isaac Review

Binding of Isaac, an indie title from the creators of Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV, follows Isaac in his journey throughout the underworld that exists below the floorboards of his house and find a way to defeat his mother before she can kill him.

The game plays as a random dungeon dual-key shooter. Unfortunately, Isaac suffers from an affliction that means that he is only capable of moving in 4 directions – up, right, left and down. This is emulated almost perfectly, kudos to the developer.

Isaac's main attack comes from the use of projectile tears (again coming in the four directions) with limited range. These are used to chip away at enemy health, destroy dung piles or put out fires. Usefully, firing in one direction and moving in a direction perpendicular gives curvature to the shot, meaning that you can use this tactically to avoid damage.

The main part of the game, in my opinion, is the development of Isaac through his binding to several items that can be found throughout the underworld. Not only do these items impart (usually) benefits to Isaac, such as increased speed, increased damage or homing shots, they also change Isaac's appearance. These can lead to some fairly funky looking combinations.

That being said, these items aren't always the greatest in certain situations, and I've found myself attempting to avoid items as I find they increase the difficulty in how I play more than they are worth. But again, this adds more interest to the game, even if it is frustrating to trawl around a dungeon on low health to find that the prize room contains a lemon of an item.

There are also one use, and multi-use, items that are not permanent in their effects, and are player controlled. These range from pills (that are random in their effect in each playthrough), various charging items such as enemy freezers or health regenerators, to single-use tarot cards.

Tarot cards are just one example of how the game cleverly uses mythology and religion in the world. Some enemies are designed on mythological creatures, such as the harbingers, or on religious ideals, like the personifications of the seven deadly sins. It's an interesting design that absolutely adds to the feel and atmosphere of the underworld.

He can also pick up bombs, coins and keys. Bombs can be used to deal high damage to enemies if you catch them in the blast, and also to remove irritating obstacles or reveal hidden secrets. Keys are important for opening prize rooms, chests and shops but the majority are single use, so the importance of conservation vs. the likelihood of picking up something useful is always a gamble. Coins are used to mainly to purchase items from the various shops that are about.

Isaac is not the only person who the underworld can be inflicted on, as reaching certain milestones through gameplay can lead to the unlocking of new characters to start with, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and starting items. This can lead to different challenges, or make it easier to complete, depending on what your playstyle is like. It is yet another layer of replayability on a game that is steeped in it.

Graphically, the game is hardly a powerhouse, opting for a more cartoony hand-drawn style of aesthetic. It's a style that suits, allowing for some of the more bizarre parts of the game to fit in (not that it's particularly normal by any stretch), and I must admit to having grown fond of the graphical style over the hours of play. The soundtrack provides a great ambience and captures perfectly the mood of the situation.

Despite the game not being hugely graphically intensive, there does seem to be a problem with frame rate drops, especially in the more crowded rooms. This is incredibly disappointing considering how great it is in almost every other area, but I've noted this frame rate drop on every machine I've played Binding of Isaac on. It's a concern as sometimes the game throws a fair few crowded rooms, especially in lower areas, and can be greatly annoying to some (but might not be a concern to those with more powerful computers).

I've managed to complete the “full” game once, unlocked all characters and played probably over 24 hours overall including play on my copy and my girlfriend's. I have barely seen half of what the game had to offer. The random nature of the game means that each play through is different, depending on room generation and item drops. I can not stop playing Binding of Isaac, and with it currently in the Steam sale, and the current Humble Bundle (complete with Wrath of the Lamb) [only until the end of 2/1/13], there is almost no excuse for not adding this to your PC library.

Score: 8.7/10
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Tue 01/01/13 at 23:49:
Regular
"Tip The Scales"
Posts: 869
The festive season has just gone past, the food was out, the drinks were flowing, and everyone was having a jolly good time. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly, isn't it? Unfortunately, a young friend of mine hasn't had such a great festive period recently. His name is Isaac, and let me tell you a story of how his last few days have gone.

Living alone, with his highly religious mother who is, in all honesty, a bit of a nutcase, Isaac has been secluded, stripped of his things and continually lambasted over his “impurity”. All of this pales into what happened to him the other day, though. Whilst minding his own business, sitting in the corner of his now empty room (thanks, Mom), his mother came in wielding a knife screaming sacrifice to the almighty lord. Fortunately, he managed to escape through a trap door...this was only the beginning, however.

Last time I saw him, he looked a bit odd, but he managed to escape eventually. The rest of the story...well, it's complicated. Good news though, it's been condensed into a game!

Binding of Isaac Review

Binding of Isaac, an indie title from the creators of Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV, follows Isaac in his journey throughout the underworld that exists below the floorboards of his house and find a way to defeat his mother before she can kill him.

The game plays as a random dungeon dual-key shooter. Unfortunately, Isaac suffers from an affliction that means that he is only capable of moving in 4 directions – up, right, left and down. This is emulated almost perfectly, kudos to the developer.

Isaac's main attack comes from the use of projectile tears (again coming in the four directions) with limited range. These are used to chip away at enemy health, destroy dung piles or put out fires. Usefully, firing in one direction and moving in a direction perpendicular gives curvature to the shot, meaning that you can use this tactically to avoid damage.

The main part of the game, in my opinion, is the development of Isaac through his binding to several items that can be found throughout the underworld. Not only do these items impart (usually) benefits to Isaac, such as increased speed, increased damage or homing shots, they also change Isaac's appearance. These can lead to some fairly funky looking combinations.

That being said, these items aren't always the greatest in certain situations, and I've found myself attempting to avoid items as I find they increase the difficulty in how I play more than they are worth. But again, this adds more interest to the game, even if it is frustrating to trawl around a dungeon on low health to find that the prize room contains a lemon of an item.

There are also one use, and multi-use, items that are not permanent in their effects, and are player controlled. These range from pills (that are random in their effect in each playthrough), various charging items such as enemy freezers or health regenerators, to single-use tarot cards.

Tarot cards are just one example of how the game cleverly uses mythology and religion in the world. Some enemies are designed on mythological creatures, such as the harbingers, or on religious ideals, like the personifications of the seven deadly sins. It's an interesting design that absolutely adds to the feel and atmosphere of the underworld.

He can also pick up bombs, coins and keys. Bombs can be used to deal high damage to enemies if you catch them in the blast, and also to remove irritating obstacles or reveal hidden secrets. Keys are important for opening prize rooms, chests and shops but the majority are single use, so the importance of conservation vs. the likelihood of picking up something useful is always a gamble. Coins are used to mainly to purchase items from the various shops that are about.

Isaac is not the only person who the underworld can be inflicted on, as reaching certain milestones through gameplay can lead to the unlocking of new characters to start with, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and starting items. This can lead to different challenges, or make it easier to complete, depending on what your playstyle is like. It is yet another layer of replayability on a game that is steeped in it.

Graphically, the game is hardly a powerhouse, opting for a more cartoony hand-drawn style of aesthetic. It's a style that suits, allowing for some of the more bizarre parts of the game to fit in (not that it's particularly normal by any stretch), and I must admit to having grown fond of the graphical style over the hours of play. The soundtrack provides a great ambience and captures perfectly the mood of the situation.

Despite the game not being hugely graphically intensive, there does seem to be a problem with frame rate drops, especially in the more crowded rooms. This is incredibly disappointing considering how great it is in almost every other area, but I've noted this frame rate drop on every machine I've played Binding of Isaac on. It's a concern as sometimes the game throws a fair few crowded rooms, especially in lower areas, and can be greatly annoying to some (but might not be a concern to those with more powerful computers).

I've managed to complete the “full” game once, unlocked all characters and played probably over 24 hours overall including play on my copy and my girlfriend's. I have barely seen half of what the game had to offer. The random nature of the game means that each play through is different, depending on room generation and item drops. I can not stop playing Binding of Isaac, and with it currently in the Steam sale, and the current Humble Bundle (complete with Wrath of the Lamb) [only until the end of 2/1/13], there is almost no excuse for not adding this to your PC library.

Score: 8.7/10

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