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    dkirschner's The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PC)

    [January 13, 2024 03:56:04 PM]
    I want to add some entries to a couple games I've been playing for a long time. I rarely do more than one entry for a game anymore, which often results in long post-game reflections instead of more in-the-moment thoughts. There's a lot of stuff I forget. The Binding of Isaac has left some imprints though. At this point, the game is nearly a decade old and, I imagine, quite different and many times bigger than it once was. I mean, there are currently 637 achievements (of which I have 29). I'm looking at old completion data and someone listed 178 achievements, another 403. I would be annoyed if I got a high percentage of achievements, and then the game expanded, added more achievements, and my percentage dropped. People 100%ed it way back when, and now that first person has 178 out of 637.

    Anyway! When I started this, I was planning to compare it to Nuclear Throne, which I thought had a similar art style, but the games are really different. The Binding of Isaac is quite claustrophobic, whereas Nuclear Throne's screen had more space. Nuclear Throne is also faster and more of a bullet hell. In Binding, you progress through a series of chapters, each with a few types of areas (e.g., Chapter 1 has the Basement and the Cellar). Down you go from area to area, chapter to chapter, until you die or kill whatever big bad boss awaits. The game has been added to so much that there are many big bad bosses now. I assume there were fewer originally. It starts with Mom. In the game, you are traumatized by your religious mother, who attempts to kill you with a knife after she becomes brainwashed by Christian TV, and you find a trap door to the basement as you flee (thus starting Isaac in the Basement area).

    In each area, you go from room to room until you find the mini-boss and/or exit. There are a variety of room types, from those with just monsters, to shops, to arcades, to treasure rooms, to secret rooms, etc., etc. I am still unclear on the full list and what they all do. But the general strategy here is to acquire items to beef up Isaac so you can go as far as you can in the run. He shoots "tears" as his weapon, and these can be modified to be bigger, faster, wobble, and so on. You can also find upgrades to Isaac's speed and health. There are literally hundreds of items, and I have no clue what the vast majority do (because I haven't found most of them). Even the ones I have found, I still don't know what most of them do. There are no tooltips for the items, or an encyclopedia that provides information. This makes The Binding of Isaac feel very much like groping about in the darkness (appropriate, as is Isaac) and often proceeding on trial and error. Or rather, proceeding on a constant cost-benefit analysis of what you think might happen when you pick up this item or take those pills. The effects are often negative.

    It took me a handful of tries to beat Mom for the first time, and that only unlocked new chapters, areas, and bosses. Like I keep saying, there are hundreds of items, hundreds of unlockables, hundreds of achievements. Like, so many hundreds of all this stuff that it is nearing a thousand. Some things unlock after you beat xyz boss; others after you perform xyz action or collect xyz things. I have started playing the game to unlock what it tells me I can unlock (e.g., saving up 50 coins to unlock a new character). Different characters have different starting stats and items. There's one I like who has really low health, but can float, and thus avoid a ton of obstacles and gain access to chests and things that are across gaps that other (walking) characters can't pass.

    I finally started looking some things up though because it's still so overwhelming. I haven't played long (about 8 hours over 5 months), and maybe it's a matter of playing more regularly to remember things better, but runs feel really different from one another. The more I played though, the better I have gotten, and I've killed Mom a handful of times now, as well as killed Satan and Mom's Heart (a couple times). I have no idea how long it will take to kill all the bosses (or even to unlock them) and get all the endings (there are like 20-something). But it's really fun, and it's a good one to play when I have like 30 minutes.
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    dkirschner's The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 19 September, 2023

    GameLog closed on: Friday 19 January, 2024

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    See how it compares to Nuclear Throne. -------- It keeps going forever. Good enough!

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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