Monday, 2 November 2015

Afterbirth First Impressions

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth: Afterbirth came out on Friday, and I played it as much as I could over the weekend, including a few extra hours facilitated by a fortunate illness that kept me from work on Friday.

More Binding of Isaac is more good, straight up. I am very happy with this expansion, and I only wish it were bigger. That said, I'd better start complaining about everything.

Greed Mode
Greed mode is the new game mode which was specifically designed to have players balance risk vs. reward. Or, rather, it is a game mode designed to balance the number of times you make it past the first room with the number of times you win. Balance in that they are equal. I've won it with every character now, and I have actually literally only lost on the first eight waves of dorks. When I did it with Azazel - my first character to go through it, so I had no idea what to expect - I accidentally hit my fool card as Ultra Greed's death animation was playing and had to fight him all over again, no problem. I will admit my Lazarus run came down to my final heart post resurrection, but I had an especially bad layout.

I guess I don't mind. Greed mode is fun. It is disgustingly easy to break, though. Get an IV Bag and a Piggy Bank and you can go off. Those lucky pennies you keep picking up start giving you enough nickels and dimes to go infinite in short order, and soon you'll add a Fanny Pack or Gimp to the roster.

Ultra Greed has plenty of health, and if you have low damage you can be in trouble if he summons wave after wave of minions, but it's pretty easy to have high damage because of the way greed mode is set up.

Lastly, the fact that you get an item charge for every wave, but waves don't end effects that only last one room, has an awfully silly impact on Lilith.

Let's say I wasn't super impressed when my game crashed the first time I tried to walk into the Hush. And I wasn't super impressed when I recleared the floor and it crashed again. Nor was I terribly happy when, having given up on that, it crashed yet again the next time I got a character to the opening to the Hush. And that, too, turned out to be repeatable. At this stage, I had no idea what was through that opening in the wall. I really wanted to know. Between this and the difficulty-tuned-for-six-year-olds greed mode, I was starting to wonder whether the expansion was actually playtested.

The Hush
Well, it turns out that the crashes, whatever their cause, did not apply to all games. I got to the Hush for the first time last night, and I had quite the loadout.

It's a good thing too. That thing has a really, really absurd amount of health. Despite the fact that minutes later I was clearing most rooms in the chest with a single shot, that fight took quite a while. Now I have to try to beat that thing with all the characters? That sounds like I'm going to be resetting for good items a lot. I'm going to have to beat that on the Lost one day, aren't I? Yeah, never going to happen.

My ability to win the hardest challenges of Isaac - that is, the Lost runs - are highly dependent on me getting some of a fairly limited pool of items. Epic Fetus and Brimstone being chief routes to victory, along with broken defensive items like the Stopwatch.

That ability seems to have been reduced by the expansion. It looks like there are some items that are potentially extremely broken, but not as much in a find-it-in-your-first-treasure-room-and-win way. I'm going to have to be distinctly better than mediocre or substantially more lucky going forward. It is nice that Doctor Fetus bombs actually do bomb damage now, though. That stuff that is never going to happen will have to happen eventually.


  1. I have no proof of this concept, but someone in my stream chat yesterday said Hush and Ultra Greed are scaled based on the damage you do to Monstro and ??? immediately before them. I've sure noticed the fight seems to last a comparable amount of time regardless of how good my build is, and I've had some sick builds against them.

    1. That actually makes a ton of sense. I've beat Hush on two characters, one of which was the screen obliterating nightmare shown above, the other was good but not astounding. It did seem to take about the same amount of time. I wonder if there is a way to exploit this.