GAME REVIEW

Isaac experiences rebirth in Afterbirth

AN ANGERED BOSS COMBATS an infantile character in the final stages of the new greed mode from Afterbirth.

On October 30, a downloadable content pack came out for the little known indie game called The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. The update, Afterbirth, features a new Greed Mode, Daily Runs, Online Leaderboards, more than 1,000 new room designs, items, transformations, and achievements, amongst a sea of countless other features. This is a much needed update to Rebirth, which came out almost a year ago, on November 4, 2014. Though the original game contained hundreds of hours of gameplay, most people that have the game don’t just sit down and play one run; they play for hours. I am a huge fan of Rebirth, and this DLC provides more content than I know what to do with. I have more than 200 hours clocked into the original, and still haven’t unlocked everything.

First off, for those that do not know, The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike style of game that employs several random elements in a top down style of gameplay. Players control a tear-shooting baby that picks up items and fights through enemies in a Zelda-dungeon-like manner. Every time the game is played, a new map and items are generated; however, there are more than 10 stages that the player must advance through with each play. With Afterbirth, the most notable feature is Greed Mode, which is a variation on the previously described style of play. In Greed Mode, each of the seven stages has the same layout: a double-sized arena style room, two treasure rooms, a shop, a curse room, and a devil or angel room. Players can hit the button in the middle of the arena room to start spawning enemies and gold coins; if the waves become too overwhelming, the player can hit the button again to stop the spawns, at the cost of a half a heart. In the treasure rooms, the protagonist can pick up power-ups that increase its survivability and strength, while the shop provides additional power-ups at the price of gold coins. The mode, in general, encourages a high intensity, fast-paced gameplay, rewarding greed over conservative play. The amount of gold that a player acquires correlates to their ability to win and overcome each level.

Greed Mode is my favorite addition to the base game. It provides endless hours of dynamic play, and even features an epic boss on the final level. I won’t spoil its name, but the hulking figure possesses a callipygian and robust figure. Like I mentioned in my last review, The Binding of Isaac is the perfect roguelike game; its randomly generated maps, curses, enemies, bosses, and even character statistics allow the most skilled players to flourish where others may falter. And with Afterbirth including new transformations, items, pool generation, and challenges, I can confidently say that I will be playing this game well into the next year, even with titles like Fallout 4, Overwatch, and Star Wars: Battlefront coming out in 2015.

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