Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Issac Redux: Musings on Rebirth and Binding in General

Isaac will be back, bigger and better(?) than ever. But will it renew my own feelings?

If I can saying anything regarding the Binding of Isaac, it's that I've played it a lot. Delving a little deeper than that, I can't help but consider my feelings regarding the dungeon crawler to be somewhat mixed. It's true that BoI provided me with a crapload of entertainment, but by the time I was done with Wrath of the Lamb I'd be lying if I said that my experience hadn't been somewhat soured overall.

I'll admit that I might be a fairly unique case. I enjoyed most of the content of both BoI and WotL, but near the end the ridiculous luck based requirements to get to the true final last level (which I do hear have been changed to make things easier) really made getting the achievements -- which by the time had become a high motivation for playing aside from enjoyment -- more frustrating and random than I would have liked. In the end I cleared everything, but I believe that I may have pushed myself too far, and even now I haven't really considered playing the game again even when it used to be one of my biggest timesinks even after I fully beat the base version.

That being said, I can't help but be interested now that more information has started trickling out about the full scale, multi-platform rerelease of the game, tentatively titled Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. What's been teased at so far has been quite promising, and the fact that Edmund is getting fan input as well is a nice touch. Still, some part of me can't help but be pessimistic. With so much new content being added -- you have to remember that Wrath of the Lamb ended up being huge after all the patches -- there's a lot more room for error than there ever was before.

By the time I stopped playing you could get some really wonky combinations of items that completely broke the game one way or the other, either making it too much of a cakewalk or practically guaranteeing failure. It was an odd state of flux, and not one that I'm entirely keen on revisiting. I can only hope that Edmund and whoever else is minding the game this time takes a good long time, however long they need complaints be damned, in making sure that as much balance as possible is maintained.

Despite my reservations I will most likely pick Rebirth up when it comes down the pipe, perhaps as early as late next year. That being said though, I think that it might be hoping against hope to have it rekindle that initial thrill that I experienced when I first picked up BoI. If I'm lucky though, then it will at least allow me to resume playing the game with the same joy that I had even after sinking hours into it. Delighting in the game as a game, not a chore to be overcome or a burden to slog through.

Who knows, perhaps time will heal these wounds.

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