The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a remake of The Binding of Isaac, a difficult adventure game that combined the random level generation of roguelike games (hard games with role-playing characteristics where if you die you start from the beginning) with dungeons inspired by the Zelda saga. Users that got hooked spent hundreds of hours on the game. Thus, if you already passed the original game, is it worth your while to dedicate the same amount of time to Rebirth? Let's see what's new in this relaunch.
Isaac against the word of God
Rebirth maintains the essence of the original title: the player controls Isaac, whose mother has locked him up in a basement full of monsters after receiving a message from God. God has asked her to sacrifice Isaac as a proof of her faith. This biblical reference already points to the fact that we are looking at a macabre and shady adult-only game. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a dungeon crawler in 2D with random levels (as befits a proper roguelike game) inspired on the Legend of Zelda series. In each floor of the basement, Isaac must face monsters while he buys or finds objects and searches for the final boss that will allow him to reach the next level.
Its high difficulty and replayability are the trump cards that turned the original The Binding of Isaac into a very addictive adventure, especially if you're after big challenges. You will die very often in the hands of your brutal enemies, but since each game is different you will always have an incentive to try again. You can spend hours and hours playing and keep discovering new contents and more objects with which to eliminate the monsters.
On this basis, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is literally a "more and better" kind of remake. Edmund McMillen, the original title's creator, could not properly reflect the game's original concept due to the limitations of the Flash motor. Rebirth banks on a new motor that allows McMillen to unleash all his creativity: you will find more characters, more objects, more rooms... Finally, Rebirth also includes a cooperative local mode for two players.
Did you get hooked on The Binding of Isaac? Did you spend hours and hours on it thanks to its simple playability and addictive essence? Then Rebirth will hook you for even more hours. Do you think we are exaggerating? You have 10 playable characters, over 100 enemies (most of them new or redesigned), 20 challenges, 50 final bosses... You are going to spend many hours in the basement from hell.
The only serious problem with Rebirth is its direct inheritance from the original game. The title never tells you what the objects and weapons you find in the dungeons are for. At times it is fun to find out their purpose when you are in the middle of a battle, but other times it can get irritating. Eventually, you will end up using specialized wikis.
Darker and more sinister than ever
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth presents a renewed visual style thanks to its new graphic motor. Rebirth achieves a better reflection of the sinister and disturbing atmosphere of the game. The monsters are more repulsive and less "cute"; the dungeons are dark and dirty; Isaac and the rest of selectable characters mutate with each new object they pick up...
As to the controls, Rebirth looks more like a shooter game than to a Zelda-type game. The important thing here is to discover the cadence of your shots to eliminate the monsters before they kill you. In this sense, the controls are perfect and you will never die because of a game failure.
For hardcore gamers only
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is not for every one. It is a game created expressly for users who are looking for difficult challenges. Thanks to its massive amount of random contents, you will always want to start over because you will never stop being surprised. And, if you have already played the original game, then you will have enough incentives to go back to the basement.