(This is a very old post and may not reflect my current writing style.)
“The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” is a game released as a “From the ground up” remake of the original “The Binding of Isaac” for PC and Playstation 4. The game has a fairly simplistic design approach and features many controversial topics that others might be afraid to go into the territory of. Needless to say, it’s original release was a massive success and the remake just as big, bringing in new players and attracting owners of the original, once again proving how well indie games can do as developers are perhaps less scared to create a more unique experience.
Aesthetics are a major point of any game, however, I’d like to think that gameplay is the more important feature within this game, as is the case with many other indie games due to the unique ideas and the lack of big budget that other companies might have. Although, this doesn’t mean “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” looks bad. It could be argued that the designs do look like they were created by some messed up kid since it is pretty limited to various crudely drawn (and animated) characters and other objects. But, for the theme of the game and what it’s trying to achieve, I believe that this design is the best approach they could have possibly had and actually works very well. This is because most of the different designs featured in the game, if taken from a real life perspective, can be considered very revolting and/or controversial. Simply put, if the aesthetics of the game were to represent a more real or ‘higher quality’ design, then it most likely wouldn’t sell or fit in at all, almost being horrible to look at and very disturbing (Even with the current design it can be disturbing, imagine if it were more realistic!). Overall, my opinion on the design choices are that the developers were very wise in creating the aesthetic as they did.
As I mentioned before, gameplay is a major factor in indie games and usually contains unique aspects if the game wishes to be a success. This is something “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” definitely does not fall flat in. It’s designed as a rogue-like, including features such as perma-death and very little story. Basically, you have to get from point A to point B whilst passing through a multitude of dungeons and defeating a plethora of different bosses. Overall, what more can I say, it’s fun! With almost 50 hours sunk into just the remake of this short game, it somehow manages to attract its audience into pretty much playing the same thing over and over again in order to try and make yourself an overpowered beast in each completely randomized run you take through the dungeons, trying to unlock everything on each character as you go. However. randomization does play a massive factor in this game, it can be argued that your ability to complete a run is completely based off luck and what items you happen to find to help you. And for the most part, this is true, but it doesn’t seem to stop my enjoyment of the game (And many others’, apparently.). Sure, it can be very frustrating, in fact, a lot of things in it are more annoying than anything, however this makes it even more satisfying when you do get amazing weapons and become a complete boss. This type of gameplay lures people in so well, it’s fast paced, satisfying and addictive, making many people sink in more time than they expect to when they first buy it.
As it is a complete remake of the original “The Binding of Isaac” I think it’s only fair if I compare it to that. Although I haven’t quite played as much of the original, I know the fundamentals of it and that, the two games are extremely similar, featuring a lot of the same content. “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” runs on a new engine and I feel like it does indeed have improved mechanics over the original game, along with being able to run on new systems such as the Ps4 (Even if you are on PC, I would recommend playing with a controller for a better experience). It also contains a lot of new content, although some of it does have a negative impact. Some items are plain useless and can be more of a hindrance to pick up, also making it less likely that you’ll achieve that fantasy of being amazingly overpowered. However, some of this new content is extremely satisfying and offers a wider variety in aspects such as bosses and items. So yes, “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth”, in my opinion, is the better game although some people would argue otherwise with other gripes at the game such as the new filters that show up every so often being straining on some eyes, or new mechanics that could be considered more annoying. These however, are minor, and don’t fully sway me to say the original is better.
In conclusion, I believe “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” is very much worth it’s price tag. Although it does have it’s flaws that can’t be argued against and may stir some people away from buying it, it’s adventurous and controversial styles along with many hours worth of trying to unlock everything make it a unique experience that shouldn’t be overlooked and at least given a try.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10