Binding of Issac: Rebirth, Is It Worth it? (PS4, PSVita, Mac, Linux, and PC)

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Back in my Binding of Isaac Review I mentioned that a remake had been released under the name of Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and that it was more expensive and was pretty cool. It’s difficult to review Rebirth because it’s basically the same game as the original… and if that’s the case then what’s the purpose of making or purchasing a remake?

This is not a review of Rebirth. As it’s very similar to the Binding of Isaac Classic so if you wanna know what I think about Roguelike shooters check out that review. The question is, if you bought Binding of Isaac Classic is it even worth it to buy Rebirth? Is a Binding of Isaac remake worth $15?

History

Rebirth was developed by Nicalis with Edmund McMillen at the helm of design. Nicalis is a company that focuses on developing smaller indie titles and their record reads like Indie Gaming’s Greatest Hits with games like Cave Story and 1001 Spikes under their belt. McMillen’s desire to remake the game stemmed from his large dislike of having made the game in Flash. By the time he was done with the original there was no room to add more content and it was riddled with small glitches that seemed impossible to fix.

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was released on November 4th, 2014. It’s competition was Five Nights at Freddies 2 (PC), This War of Mine (PC), and Assassin’s Creed Unity (PC, PS4, and XBox One).

Experiences

To say that Binding of Isaac is big in my friend group is an understatement. We play it while we all voice-chat, in local multiplayer, and talk about our luckiest and unluckiest runs. Further, I feel like the slacker of the bunch. I’m basically the only one of them not to unlock Platinum God and all of the content. I’ve nearly doubled the time I played Binding of Isaac classic in the hours I’ve put into Rebirth and there’s still more things for me to unlock and do.

Why It’s Worth the Cost

150 new items. From silly odd things like Tiny Planet — which will make you the center of attention or at least your attacks– to even a new Guppy item, Guppy’s Collar, and the immensely powerful Sacred Heart. There are so many new toys to play with.

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Guppy’s Collar, now available at a Devil Deal near you.

It’s no longer on Flash so it will be easier to add more content in the future, paving the way for whatever new idea pops into McMillen’s head.

You can now donate extra money to shops in order to improve their item pool and increase the number of items they sell.

It’s easier to collect, and therefore find, accurate data about exactly how different items effect Isaac. Evil, luck, and faith are all now documentable statistics and the tooltips are more clear for items overall.

Items can now synergize. Transforming their powers into one incredibly powerful effect.

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Brimstone lasers + Tammy’s head creates a wave of destruction impossible in Classic.

Some problematic items that are generally accepted as bad have been improved and buffed, making them viable again — Ipecac will no longer fly over the heads of your enemies and lemon mishap… is slightly better.

Even more new characters such as, the undying Lazarus, the enigmatic Eden, and the sinister Azazel.

New smaller pickups like runes which generate bizarre card-like effects and batteries to recharge your chargeable items.

New bosses, enemies, champion types, and challenges. Some of which unlock even more new items.

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20 Challenges in the base game and Afterbirth adds 10 more.

If you quit the game you can now take up from where you left off– or abandon a godawful run.

New areas like The Dark Room which lies beyond Sheol. And the Boss Rush which can only be accessed after defeating Mom in under 20 minutes — gotta go speed!

New 16-bit art style.

Better code so things are less likely to go totally ham and less crashing — this also means fewer I am Error rooms but it’s a small price to pay.

Level seeds! Every run has an 8 digit seed which can be input to repeat the run. You can’t get achievements from seeded runs but now you can challenge a friend, or rival,  to see if they could do better in terms of time or effectiveness with your exact circumstances.

And more things than I can even fit in my brain space.

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Such as crawl-spaces hidden under rocks, leading to special hidden areas.

Reasons Against

There are a lot of things to relearn and some of your tricks from the Classic game might betray you now. Some old items don’t even work the same way any more.

All of the old music has been scrapped so all of those tunes you loved so much can only be heard in Binding of Isaac Classic.

I haven’t been able to get Afterbirth to run on my Vista Laptop. I’ve tried every fix and it just won’t work.

There’s no transferring your save so you’ll have to unlock everything you unlocked from Classic all over again.

Some bug-fixes have actually made things more difficult. Cain’s lucky foot no longer guarantees good pills and and you can no longer have an infinite number of soul hearts.

AFTERBIRTH!

Heads up! Rebirth has its own expansion already, goes by the name of Afterbirth and sells for $11. The same caveat that goes for Wrath of the Lamb goes for Afterbirth, Afterbirth spikes the difficulty up quite a bit. Afterbirth brings even more characters such as Lillith– forever accompanied by her faithful Incubus– and The Keeper — for whom greed is certainly good. Afterbirth also comes with new challenges and even more new items and synergies. Afterbirth brings the Spelunky daily run to the Binding of Isaac experience.. There’s even a new mode of play, Greed Mode — it’s like a normal run but way quicker, contained, and fueled by sweet sweet money.

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Behold the might and wrath of Ultra Greed.

That being said, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Azazel got a bunch of nerfs that people are still a little miffed about. And the difficulty spike might be too much for some.

The Verdict

I’m totally for it — I bought it after all. But I hope that these pros and cons can help you reach an informed decision. This is what Afterbirth is bringing to the basement — and taking away in some cases. I welcome these changes because I think they create a more fun game experience overall so I would say that Rebirth and Afterbirth are both sound gaming purchases.

Next Week: Cthulhu Saves the World

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