The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’s DLC expansion, Afterbirth, is one of the most highly anticipated indie releases of the year. With huge replay value, solid gameplay and a massive amount of tears and poo, Edmund McMillen sets the quality bar even higher.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
Developer: Nicalis, Inc
Publisher: Nicalis, Inc
Available on: PC (tested)
First things first. Core gameplay remains untouched as it is nearly perfect already for its kind. If you were looking for an excuse to get The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, then Afterbirth won’t change your point of view. Move on. On the other hand, if you were looking for more content to keep playing this gem, this DLC delivers exactly that: It adds content. A massive amount of content.
One of the biggest additions is Greed Mode. It is an arena-styled mode where you need to defeat waves of enemies instead of a fixed number and type in the vanilla version. You activate a timer and every time it hits zero, you earn coins and a new wave of foes appears. Even if you didn’t defeat the previous wave. And enemies will slowly start to overrun you. You can pause wave spawns by walking over the same button… if you can afford a little bit of life.
Levels are set up in order with a notorious increase in difficulty. In between, you’re given access to a shop where you can spend your hard earned money. You can reshuffle items for a small price and also access to a cursed room and two item rooms on each level. In any kind of game, grinding monster can become boring really quick. In The Binding of Isaac, it is pure fun. How quickly can you defeat monster to not become overrun? Is it worth your precious hearts to pause the waves in order to take a break? Each and every decision you are forced to take in those little chaotic rooms counts.
There’s also a new character, the blindfolded Lilith: The mother of Demons. She doesn’t shoot tears herself, but through a demonic-looking familiar that accompanies her. Lilith is unlocked by completing Greed Mode with Azazel and she starts with the all new item Box of Friends, which adds one copy of each current familiars for the duration of the current room. If you always wanted to be a minion master, Afterbirth has you covered.
Another fantastic addition are daily runs and leaderboards. Players now can compete for the best score on the internet. Every day, the game generates a specific seed for everyone and it is up to you to get as far as you can, although it is not completely fair. Even in daily seeds you are still unable to access unlocked stuff, so there is that. More reasons to play the game and unlock everything you can.
This DLC now increases the number of challenges up to 30, and some of them are really fun and original. For example, “The Guardian” starts with Blindfolded (cannot use tears), the Spear of Destiny (a new weapon), and Isaac must protect his heart: a punching bag. This adds a whole new dynamic where you need to go full bananas into the enemies: they can’t hurt you, unless they find your heart which will do little to hide itself.
Then there are small changes that, as a whole, make a new experience. A narrator has been introduced and he announces your pill and card effects. We have new bosses and enemies –not just reskins- with new particle effects, animations and patterns. New achievements and alternate chapters. An expanded soundtrack, improved HUD systems and secret transformations. New rooms and new items, and everything together create thousands of new variations due to Isaac’s own nature. At the very least, this DLC will you a hundred hours of more gameplay.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth adds hundreds of hours to an already massive in content game. It’s a great expansion for any Isaac fan, and the cheap price tag of $10.99 makes it even better.