The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac

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Annoyone May 9, 2014 @ 6:08am
Game too hard & arbitrary?
Now, I know this is a roguelike and that they are boring if they are not tough.
But here everthing just seems entirely arbitrary and unbalanced. You lose health in pretty much every room due to horrible navigation and the game throwing tons of enemies at you that all have arbitrary and entireley unpredictable movement. Then you only get a few hearts at the end of each level after beating the final boss that usually stomps you into the dirt. The game being in 2D makes it nearly impossible to see where an enemy projectile goes down and if it will hit you.
The items are unbalanced and you always have to switch to the wiki (who needs immersion anyway?) to figure what the nelly you just picked up and if blasts enemies away, gives them a soft kiss on the cheek or suicide bombs your own little bum. Some items like pills have random effect, usually punishing your curiousity. Rather than encouraging you to improvise and adapt to any situation (like, say, FTL), it forces you to pray to a god you probably do not believe in, that the game throws out something that will increase your health or damage or tears so that you have the chance to survive just a little longer.
Overall the game is stuffed with unnecessary things, therefore completely unbalanced, punishing beyond the fun point and entirely arbitrary. I played this game for almost twenty hours and never even got close to beating it.
Am I doing something wrong or am I just too bad?
Anyone on my side or do I get the usual bashing?
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Showing 1-15 of 53 comments
glass May 9, 2014 @ 6:50am 
Hi!

First I'd like to mention about races. There are isaac races like BOILeR or BoS out there. Sometimes the race last less than 20mins. Players even skip treasure rooms to put pressure on their opponent. Point I'm trying to make - it is possible to be consistant at the game, and is not all that unpredictable. You'll pick up skill as you play.

You mention FTL. To play FTL well, you need a lot of knowledge about the game. This knowledge is something that you read guides, or slowly pick up as you play. Similarlly, in BoI, knowledge helps so much. How do you increase your chance at a devil deal? How to find secret rooms? How do I take care of certain enemies without getting hit? What are special items?

When I first started playing isaac, it took me tens of tries before I finally beat Mom. It was really hard. I'll probably take less than 5 tries to kill mom right now. Did I mention I'm not a very good Isaac player?

To put things into perspective, Mom is relatively easy. After you beat Mom for the first time, you'll unlock the womb where the final boss (not so final) will then dwell. Mom will only be a stepping stone on your way there.

I hope you'll grow to enjoy Isaac and hop onto the rebirth hype train. :)
Cheers, have fun.
First of all, getgud scrubshit.

In all seriousness, though, you're fairly incorrect about a few things you say about the game.

For one, the game tells you what you picked up and what it does. When you pick up an item, look in the bottom righthand corner. It says there what that item's function is.

After playing the game for long enough, you'll just know what an item does even before you pick it up.

Secondly, enemy attack patterns are NOT random. They can all be learned. Movement is also not random. Enemy movement is always based on the obsticals in the room and your position.

The fact that this game is 2D is not a problem, either. There are shadows under everything to show you where something will land. Say you're fighting Pestilence (though you won't be, considering you haven't beaten Mom yet), and he throws out an acid bomb at you. You know where it will land because there is a shadow on the ground showing where it will land.

You also say that you lose health in almost every room that has enemies in it. This is not the case for me or many other Isaac players.

What do you mean items are unbalanced? Is it just that you don't know what every item does yet? Protip: don't pick up IPECAC and then later pick up a cracked mirror (My Reflection) ever.
Another protip: Don't pick up the flail (Cat O Nine Tails), and don't pick up the 8 Ball unless you REALLY, REALLY need a Tarot card.

Concerning pills, it's often a matter of choosing when to take them. For example, if you're lower on health than you'd like to be, don't take a pill you don't know, for it could be Bad Trip, causing you to take damage (Unless you're at 1 half heart, then it's a Full Health pill). If you can't afford to potentially take a Health Down or a Tears Down, wait until you can. If you know you have a Telepills, don't use it until after you finish that floor. You have a 6% chance to be teleported into the I-AM-ERROR room, causing you to

1. Leave the floor because there is no other way out.
2. Pick up a bunch of items.

Also, Pills are the only items that are random. Tarot cards, on the other hand, are not random. They will always do a specific thing no matter what playthrough you're on. So again, it's a matter of learning what they do.

A majority of this game is based on luck, yes (until you get the D6, that is, but that's a secret). But a majority of the game's luck is also knowing when to take risks. Take Curse Rooms, for instance (in Wrath of the Lamb DLC). Going in there costs 1 half heart and going out costs another. But when you go in there, there is a chance for a few things to happen when you open the Red Chest inside the Curse Rooms:

1. Spiders will spawn and attack you
2. Live bombs will spawn and blow you up if you're stupid and walk near them
3. You could get 2 Spirit Hearts (Blue Hearts)
4. You could get attack flies
5. You could get 2 good pills
6. You could get 2 bad pills
7. You could get a good pill and a bad pill
8. You could get a Deal With the Devil item.

But, if you're low on health, it might not be worth the risk. Same with Deals with the Devil. If you don't have much max HP, it might not be worth trading it for power.

Also, don't feel bad or that the game is unfair if you've played 20 hours and not beaten Mom yet. You WILL die a lot for the first 20-30 hours. I suggest watching some Northernlion plays Binding of Isaac and Bisnap on Youtube. They're two people that know a lot about the game (Bisnap especially) and watching their videos will probably help. I know they helped me.
Last edited by An Empty Recycling Bin; May 9, 2014 @ 7:53am
m.cab May 9, 2014 @ 8:32am 
Please dont take this offensive but this sounds like you are not made for this game. ):

Binding of Isaac is basically about two things: Beeing a good player and having luck.

1. It is very "arcadey" (top down, real time) and a lot about reflexes, strategy and tactics (this is the "good player" part.
2. While it is possible to be a very good player, the items you recieve define the outcome of the game by a huge part (lets say 50%). If you play awesome but only get ♥♥♥♥ items, you will struggle and probably lose. If you play ♥♥♥♥ and get awesome items you will still have a very good chance to win.

50% skill /50 luck.
If you have neither, youre going to have a bad day (;
Last edited by m.cab; May 9, 2014 @ 8:33am
Misery1ndex May 9, 2014 @ 4:36pm 
I stopped reading after i read "horrible navigation".
Last edited by Misery1ndex; May 9, 2014 @ 4:37pm
Gunna be honest here, I'm baffled that this guy has taken down Ultra Pride in under 20 hours.

Wow.
Perfect Toast May 10, 2014 @ 1:24am 
Originally posted by ;540741131362120635:
Please dont take this offensive but this sounds like you are not made for this game. ):
I dissagree. I felt the exact same way as Annoyone did. I only played the game because by brother kepped bugging me about it every single day. I wasn't able to beat Mom untill I had played fifty hours. Once I got used to it however, it quickly became my favorite game.

I don't think you are doing anything wrong, the game just takes time to learn.
Zef May 10, 2014 @ 5:26am 
.o.
IIlIllIIIIlI May 10, 2014 @ 6:19pm 
This is one of those games that you have to play a lot of to get good at. After about 150 hours of this game, I can usually get past mom whenever I want. Most of my friends who have around 20 hours struggle to even get to mom. Similar to Hotline Miami, when I first started playing that game, it took a ton of trys to get past one level. Now that I have 40 hours of Hotline Miami, when I get bored, I beat levels of that game. Binding is a game that you have to get good at to be good at.
m.cab May 11, 2014 @ 1:44am 
No idea where i was mean.
Enzime May 15, 2014 @ 12:04pm 
i'd ignore people telling you that you have no skill for this game

*ive been in plenty of dungeons that have very strict pathes to follow or rooms covered in boulders and the screen will be way over loaded with multiple mobs
like the kind that shoot at you from across the room and the kind that float over holes and rocks AND shoot at you

*ive also walked into a room thats a mini maze covered with the fast running red guys who can ressurect if you dont kill there corpse, some times these mobs split up and come at you from the only directions you can go

it'll make you rage if youre already in a game that has starved you of power-ups and hearts.
in places this game will be way too hard but ignore the people on here who are boasting about skill, because as i mention above, there will be situations where you are simply screwed.

this game needs luck more than skill and to the people who want to argue, instead of me replying, just read thoes 2 bullet points again and again,
sure there not impossible situations to survive - but impossible to beat without taking damage
Originally posted by Suicide:
i'd ignore people telling you that you have no skill for this game

*ive been in plenty of dungeons that have very strict pathes to follow or rooms covered in boulders and the screen will be way over loaded with multiple mobs
like the kind that shoot at you from across the room and the kind that float over holes and rocks AND shoot at you

*ive also walked into a room thats a mini maze covered with the fast running red guys who can ressurect if you dont kill there corpse, some times these mobs split up and come at you from the only directions you can go

it'll make you rage if youre already in a game that has starved you of power-ups and hearts.
in places this game will be way too hard but ignore the people on here who are boasting about skill, because as i mention above, there will be situations where you are simply screwed.

this game needs luck more than skill and to the people who want to argue, instead of me replying, just read thoes 2 bullet points again and again,
sure there not impossible situations to survive - but impossible to beat without taking damage

Hey, I'm still trying to get Dark Boy to this day. Not saying I'm the best player, but ♥♥♥♥ you too Bloat.
Revolver Octopus May 15, 2014 @ 12:09pm 
I thought the point was that it would be arbitrary and unbalanced. That's the best part. The pain of your keyboard breaking as you die for the 30th time.
Originally posted by Revolver Octopus:
I thought the point was that it would be arbitrary and unbalanced. That's the best part. The pain of your keyboard breaking as you die for the 30th time. :Nutcracker:

Actually, I'm at 400 deaths and counting, and I can't break my keyboard thanks to my dumbass macbook pro.
Enzime May 15, 2014 @ 12:11pm 
yea, theres something about the games punishment to the player that is strangly addictive
Originally posted by Suicide:
yea, theres something about the games punishment to the player that is strangly addictive

Well, the rewards are ungodly. Brimstone, Mom's Knife, Epic Fetus, you name it. Wrecks everyone everytime.
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Date Posted: May 9, 2014 @ 6:08am
Posts: 53