The Binding of Isaac vs. FTL: Why did GB notice one way more?

#1 Posted by BisonHero (6150 posts) -

Looking back, I think it's really strange that FTL made enough of an impression that the GB staff all felt like they should get around to playing it leading up to Game of the Year (and some of them actually did), while I'm not sure The Binding of Isaac was ever mentioned again after its Quick Look.

I don't know if others thought of it this way, but FTL has basically been this year's Binding of Isaac for me, as far as being a fairly tough roguelike-like thing that tasks you with playing it multiple times to unlock all the stuff, and you never quite have the same permutation of things twice. I really like both games, but I actually think Binding of Isaac is the better game. The major flaws of FTL are 1) with a percentage-based dodge rate, sometimes you get unlucky and just get ravaged by missiles even though your ship is pretty good, and 2) while every ship starts with different stuff, if you manage to reach the boss, your ships kinda all play the same because you can always just upgrade shields, engines, etc. how you prefer every time (weapons and drones are more random, though there aren't THAT many). Conversely, The Binding of Isaac gives you direct control so you can theoretically tough it out and dodge like a fiend even when you are severely underpowered, and there is no upgrade tree you feed money into so your stats and items are wildly different each time (and there are like a zillion items).

Granted, the text adventurey part of FTL is really neat, and its setting is more engaging than Binding of Isaac (which apparently is meant to express McMillen's thoughts on Christianity, but all I've been able to figure out is "he thinks Christianity is kinda stupid and goofy"). Anyway, I think both games are comparable to Spelunky, so I just don't really get why FTL and Spelunky seemed to get far more attention than The Binding of Isaac ever did last year.

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#2 Posted by Hunkulese (2640 posts) -

I don't really see much similarity between the games except that you can die.

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#3 Edited by Lagaroth (169 posts) -

I seem to recall some of the staff, Jeff and Patrick I think, not liking the gameplay. I think it was it being a 4-way shooting not 8-way or something. 4-way being up, down, left, right. 8-way having diagonal.

Edit: Oh I also seem to remember Patrick saying 'I wanted to like it more than I did.' On a podcast at some point.

#4 Posted by BisonHero (6150 posts) -
@Lagaroth Yeah, I mean I expect Jeff to randomly dismiss games for really picky reasons because he just has really weird criteria sometimes, but I'm just surprised that not even one of them put like 20 or 30 hours into Binding of Isaac.
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#5 Posted by JasonR86 (9604 posts) -

I'm assuming it's because they liked one more than the other.

#6 Posted by The_Hiro_Abides (1253 posts) -

I don't know but I personally liked FTL more than The Binding of Isacc. It's probably because of the space aesthetic was better to my tastes than a Zelda-ish 4-way shooter.

#7 Posted by Ben_H (3306 posts) -

I enjoyed both quite a bit but FTL is just the better game to me. Isaac is a lot of fun but kinda dull after a while. Somehow FTL makes you want to keep trying even after you lose entire crews. Binding of Isaac didn't really do that, though that doesn't mean I didn't play it for like 5 hours straight one night.

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#8 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (679 posts) -

Space.

#9 Posted by L44 (550 posts) -

I remember jeff saying he didn't like the combat much but that's about it. And while both are hard games, Binding of Isaac is much harder.

#10 Posted by medacris (642 posts) -

I like Binding of Isaac quite a bit, but I can see why people wouldn't like it. It derives its humor from a very dark subject matter that makes some people uncomfortable, not everyone likes the emphasis on blood and poop, not everyone likes roguelikes or games as tough as Isaac, and the fact that Edward McMillen was known on Newgrounds beforehand might make people steer clear.

Somewhat related: a group of LP'ers on YouTube called Vinesauce interviewed Mr. McMillen and played The Basement Collection on a Livestream, and it was enough to make me want to get into his stuff intially. He seems like a cool guy, and his story about his mom making toys based on his work (which he later started selling on his website's shop) is really endearing.

#11 Posted by colorbrandon (160 posts) -

Its the same reason why Dark Souls somehow leaves the bomb crew with a bad taste in their mouths. Not at all weird that we have a group of dudes who all have the same taste in games.

#12 Posted by ajamafalous (11845 posts) -
@BisonHero said:
@Lagaroth Yeah, I mean I expect Jeff to randomly dismiss games for really picky reasons because he just has really weird criteria sometimes, but I'm just surprised that not even one of them put like 20 or 30 hours into Binding of Isaac.
I don't really think 'really picky' or 'weird criteria' are fair assessments. I, personally, don't like feeling like I'm fighting a game's mechanics instead of its enemies or other players. I can totally understand how Jeff could feel the same way about the shooting/combat in Binding of Isaac.
 
It's why I didn't like the game, or GTAIV, or plenty of others.
#13 Edited by SJSchmidt93 (4884 posts) -

I've played the BoI and FTL for a combined 200 hours this year (edit: last year). If you throw in Spelunky it's probably 250+ hours. They liked FTL and Spelunky, but never really gave BoI a fair shake I don't think.

#14 Posted by Sanious (793 posts) -

@medacris said:

Somewhat related: a group of LP'ers on YouTube called Vinesauce interviewed Mr. McMillen and played The Basement Collection on a Livestream, and it was enough to make me want to get into his stuff intially. He seems like a cool guy, and his story about his mom making toys based on his work (which he later started selling on his website's shop) is really endearing.

I played Super Meat Boy and that is why I started liking Team Meats games, but after seeing Indie Game the Movie I really, really ended up liking Edmund a lot. Seems like a really genuine guy who really puts his heart into his work.

#15 Posted by BisonHero (6150 posts) -

@L44 said:

And while both are hard games, Binding of Isaac is much harder.

I think Binding of Isaac is easier, if only because you have more manual control of your dodging and your accuracy. I guess that entirely depends on whether you can make use of that direct control, but once I got good at Binding of Isaac, I found I was getting to the credits like 10 times for every 1 time I actually died. Wrath of the Lamb changed all that because basically all of the new enemies are complete assholes, but I still do pretty well. Even when you really know how to play FTL, sometimes you just get a particularly strong enemy with like 2 different missile weapons and if you don't have a defense drone it's like a guaranteed 15 damage, even with a decent dodge rate. Sometimes a really good run will just die because you don't find a store for a while, and you encounter like 3-4 really strong ships in a row.

@medacris: Yeah, McMillen is a pretty cool dude. He was pretty much the most delightful part of Indie Game: The Movie. He just has a really positive personality, which is impressive when he talks about his childhood not being the greatest.

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#16 Posted by Nottle (1912 posts) -

I know how you feel. There are plenty of games that are simular to other games people like that I think they should like. Maybe it's been a while, but I don't recall this much positivity around something like Bayonetta compared to DMC. The Twisted Metal game that came out last year seemed pretty ambitious but it was barely a blip.

I guess somethings just become part of the zeitgeist even if other things (more deserving things) don't.

#17 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6385 posts) -

@colorbrandon said:

Its the same reason why Dark Souls somehow leaves the bomb crew with a bad taste in their mouths. Not at all weird that we have a group of dudes who all have the same taste in games.

I wouldn't go that far, but yes, there are some games where the opinion is shared among all of them for one reason or another.

#18 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11462 posts) -

At the end of the day, while FTL is still random and unfair, The Binding of Isaac is far more random and unfair, or at the very least I perceive it that way. Of course, I'd also say that FTL is a hell of a lot more fun than Isaac's imprecise shooting and overbearingly dark subject material. Rock Space Aliens are always better than satanic monsters and poop.

#19 Posted by Video_Game_King (35978 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater said:

Rock Space Aliens are always better than satanic monsters and poop.

I beg to differ.

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