The Binding of Isaac : Wrath of the Lamb DLC Review
The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb DLC Review
After spending countless hours in the labyrinth beneath Isaac’s house, in the rogue-like game The Binding of Isaac, I was pretty pumped to hear about the Wrath of the Lamb expansion. Now, after successfully closing the game and removing myself from its addicting grasp, I have a lot of things to say about the game’s premier downloadable content.
The Binding of Isaac Before the Wrath of the Lamb
If you haven’t played The Binding of Isaac, then you’ve missed out. This Newgrounds associated Indie title, created by Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl, tells the story of Isaac. Isaac’s mother hears the voice of God who tells her she must sacrifice her son in order to prove her faith. Upon her attempt to kill him, Isaac escapes into the basement; where he must then fight through a labyrinth full of enemies, lost siblings, appearance altering loot, and a slew of bosses including his own varicose-veined mother. The Binding of Isaac follows a rogue-like structure; meaning magical items that give you special abilities and alter your characters stats, and randomly generated dungeon maps and enemies. The combat system reminds me a bit of the twin stick shooting in Smash TV for the SNES. In The Binding of Isaac you never play the same game twice; but you will play twice; as death is permanent and you must start from the beginning upon your demise. While this may seem like a bummer, the seamless ability to retry without hesitation makes it difficult to stop, making this game an addicting addition to anyone’s library. For $5 why wouldn’t you pick it up? I digress; we are here for expansion talk.
Introduction to Wrath of the Lamb
The Binding of Isaac recently received an expansion. I immediately picked it up, what I found brought me many hours of joy, as well as sorrow. When you start the game, nothing seems to have changed, save for the title across the top containing the subheading “Wrath of the Lamb” and a fancy, “Challenges” menu. “The List” of challenges contains different alterations to The Binding of Isaac, such as the “Dark was the night” challenge, where you must complete the game with no level map, or the “Meat 4evar!” challenge where you start with a meat man, (strikingly similar to a certain Meatboy) and are given no treasure rooms. These challenges reward you with more magical in game items and trinkets, but are only for the brave as the game, on its own, makes for quite a challenge.
Isaac’s Going Through Changes
The first change I noticed upon starting my game is the environment; the “unfinished basement” look of the original is sometimes replaced with wooden floors and spider webs that decrease your movement speed. This is only one room type from the 6+ added with the expansion. This adds more challenge to an already difficult game. Another effective addition is the trinkets, which act as regular passive items, but being only able to carry one, may give the user an aneurism when deciding whether to switch one for another. This becomes increasingly irritating as the trinkets have no explanation of their effect; leaving many players to frequent “The Binding of Isaac Wiki” to discover the desired effects.
SO MANY SHINY LOOTS!
Wrath of the Lamb introduces 100+ new items to the already impressive collection found in the main game; which, according to the game’s Steam page, brings the total to over 235 unique items. These items not only alter Isaac’s appearance in awesome, sometimes grotesque ways, but they primarily enhance his abilities with unique and devastating powers. This makes the discovery of a treasure room that much more exciting. The Wrath of the Lamb also touts 15+ new bosses and 20+ new enemy types that range from spiders and worms, to more grotesque copies of Isaac himself, giving Isaac much more to fear then just his overzealous mother. During my stint in the cellar (/catacombs/utero/womb/underworld) I found many things. New secrets, NPCs, curses (CURSES!), blessings, the fortune teller; I also received many new variations to average items, like dimes (They’re like 10 pennies!), playing cards (Like tarot cards, but not!), and eternal hearts (if carried through to the next level, will increase your life bar). The Binding of Isaac originally rewarded several different endings as well. The addition of more endings, coupled with the addition of more unlockable characters makes the difficult journey that much more rewarding upon its completion.
I found the expansion to be very commendable, even after spending many unsuccessful hours attempting to complete it. This expansion reinforces everything about the vanilla version that made it great, making the 3$ price tag a reasonable expense for a game that will keep delivering time and time again. The amount of additional content introduced in the Wrath of the Lamb is incredible and will keep people happily busy for quite a while.