Review: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PS4)


Title: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Format: PlayStation Network Download (499 MB)
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Nicalis
Developer: Nicalis
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US), €14.99 (EU), £11.99(UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is also available on PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PC, and Mac.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was purchased by the reviewer.
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DLC Review(s) For This Game:

An inescapable agreement by his delusional God-fearing mother causes poor little Isaac to run and hide. Her warped tenet and misguided precept seems to have permanently scarred her mentally ill mind and her poor son is bearing her full wrath.

It would seem the Biblical tale inspired a procedurally generated dungeon roguelike that is bursting at the seams with everything that terrifies the poor child. Each room has grotesque abominations that appear to echo the vile hatred that spews from his mother’s mind and now lurks in his own poor little psyche.

How does he defeat these horrible creatures? With the only thing a young child has an abundance of, innocent and pure tears. That isn’t to say other weapons and attacks cannot be scavenged from his pre-pubescent memories that are locked away in rooms and chests.

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Each thing Iassc picks up to use against his nightmares warps his very being, slowly becoming a freakish amalgamation of what we see as different and his mother sees as unholy. Isaac does not know if the items, pills, or the bizarre Tarot cards he has found will be good or bad and there is only one way of finding out, he must use them.

A certain combination of his mother’s pills could increase his attributes or hurt him. An item could give him a Borg-like cybernetic eye that fires a laser beam. A Tarot card could give everything that has been lost. There is an exceptional learning process in this twin-stick shooter and the quest for knowledge is almost as addictive as the game itself.

… challenges to overcome …
As you descend into the lower floors of the basement, the challenge becomes more difficult and with any luck, more rewarding too. You might stumble upon a secret room, an arcade, a mini-boss, and a plethora of other things packed into this enticing experience that demands one more go.

With plenty of characters to unlock, challenges to overcome, and wonderfully disturbing things to find The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth will keep you going for ages. In addition, there are numerous hidden Trophies to acquire and the Platinum is definitely worth bragging about if you manage to add that to your collection.

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A twisted Zelda-like theme is present in the game, seen through the eyes of a naive and terrified mind. A warped nightmare with all the appurtenances of a poor forgotten lower-class mother and her child, left alone to struggle in turmoil.

From the peculiar smiling faeces that bounce around the cold and wet dungeon to the macabre stick figure drawings, everything about this game is just plain wrong, but in a good way.

… a strange look about it that disturbs the general observer …
The music is really good, strangely fitting with the tone of the game and its setting. What really stood out are the putrid sound effects, from the smattering of blood hitting the stone floor to the horrendous sound of faecal matter excreting from a loathsome enemy. It could almost be funny if it weren’t for the putrid theme all around.

This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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I didn’t expect to like The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. It has a strange look about it that disturbs the general observer. It is only when you take the time to find out what is really going on, only then do you find the desire to help poor little Isaac.

In a self-serving need to explore every crevice and locked secret, I have found myself wanting to stay in this horrific place. I gaze at the disturbing things, like a passer-by stopping at the scene of an accident, needing to see the gruesome sights.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth doesn’t knock at your door asking for five minutes of your time. Nor does it ask you to question the sanctity of religious belief, but the way in which a broken mind may perceive those ideals and the way others suffer because of it. It subtly does that, as a fun roguelike twin-stick shooter that anyone could enjoy.

You do not have to ponder any questions about faith, the mind, or anything else for that matter to get the most out of this experience. You can jump in without reprisal because at the end of the day, it is just a game.


* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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