Is It The End? | The Binding of Isaac: Repentance Discussion

Hey guys! If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I’ve been immersed in anything The Binding of Isaac-related since around 2013. It’s when I finally got a laptop capable of gaming on, and that was one of the games I loaded up. So as I’ve been playing the newest DLC for Rebirth, Repentance, I thought it’d be good to take a trip down memory lane.

I might even make a Pokemon Theme Teams post based on the characters.

There are spoilers ahead!


Needless to say I’ve been having a lot of fun with the DLC. In the first week of playing, it felt like I had a lot more to discover as I carried on, and I suppose it can feel very overwhelming to some people, especially newer players. Now, I hadn’t completed all of the achievements left over from Afterbirth+, so I had some catching up to do, as well as taking on the new challenges, achievements and characters.

Repentance is an official version of the Antibirth mod, and it was a collaboration project to make the Antibirth mod more official. And it works, but more on that storyline later!


Characters

At face value, the two new characters, Bethany and Jacob & Esau, are plenty. I mean, Bethany is a great, fun character, and the pairing of Jacob and Esau, that you have to control together, are nightmares incarnate. But I suppose that’s the whole purpose of the game!

Other characters got some tweaks – Maggie starts with a Full Health pill instead of a Speed Up, The Lost now holds the Eternal D6 instead of the D4, and The Keeper starts with three coin hearts instead of two. I daresay that these changes make the characters a bit more viable, and it also made The Keeper more fun to play as.

But we need to go deeper! And that’s where I start talking about the Tainted characters. For an in-depth analysis of the Tainted characters, this video by SlayXc2 pretty much sums them up. They were teased by Edmund McMillen as well, but you’d have been forgiven for thinking it was an April Fool’s prank. But in essence, they are easy to unlock once you completed the Antibirth storyline and ascend back to Home. Even the Mother ending alludes to the unlock method.

So what are my thoughts? That’ll come soon in another post! But I’ve had a lot of fun failing as Tainted Lost, and Connor really likes Tainted Azazel due to his range increase compared to his regular counterpart. Basically, each character has their really fun unique mechanics that make the gameplay more intriguing or difficult.


Storyline

The core storyline is the same, but it is the alternate path taken through Downpour, Mines, Mausoleum and Corpse that change the storyline. The enemies are more difficult, there are set puzzles (which I can either take or leave, I’m not particularly a fan of the Mines puzzle), and the more difficult Mom boss and Mom’s Heart straight afterwards that make things harder for you. The payoff is worth it, as you explore the Corpse and defeat Mother. That’s a bit of a doozy, but defeating that will basically unlock the other half of the DLC.

Unlocking the secret door is *chef’s kiss*, the best thing is going through and unlocking the Tainted characters, and then fighting the true final boss, The Beast. It kinda has a Cuphead feel towards the end, so you also need to strategise your loadout hard. For example, Dr. Fetus is a no-go here, because gravity. But the final ending is worth it.

I’ve seen a lot of people discuss how the ending is basically the good ending, although I see it as more of the ultimate hallucination ending. I mean, Isaac is dead, after all.


Co-op Gameplay

Repentance included the introduction of multiple-character co-op. Instead of Player 2 controlling baby familliars, they instead control a full character. During our quarantine period, I’ve been really enjoying the co-op gameplay sessions with Connor, as much as we end up screwing each other over! Although I have to beg him to reset if he gets randomised with Tainted Eden, just saying.

It’s a great opportunity to bond with each other, not that we don’t anyway…


Soundtrack

The soundtrack, as always, slaps hard. That’s all I have to say.


Items and Balancing

There’s a plethora of new items that I haven’t even unlocked yet! I’m not the best Isaac player by any means, so I like to take things at my own pace. As for the rebalancing, I’ve enjoyed the process of practically relearning the game, as it were. It took me back to 2013 when I first played the original Flash game, and went into it from there.

I ended up spending hours at a time playing Repentance, and would exit the game only to go back in maybe 10-15 minutes later and carrying on. It’s a bit less now, but I always enjoy going back into it.


Overall, is this DLC worth it? Absolutely! So if you’re a console gamer and you’re waiting for the DLC to drop for you, it’s so worth it!

I haven’t had this much fun in an Isaac game in years, and that’s saying a lot!

Noughts + Crosses – The TV Show Discussion

Hey guys! I wrote a post a while back about the Noughts and Crosses books, and I took a nosedive into the BBC iteration of the series as well. And here we go. Spoilers included!


It’s clear that this adaptation is essentially a loose adaptation. While there are some familiar characters, such as the McGregors and Hadleys, there are additional characters involved, some seem to have disappeared, and the story is a new story that takes place in the same universe with the same characters.

Would I have liked a very accurate depiction of the books? Absolutely.

Am I displeased with the results of this TV show? Absolutely not.


A lot of the story is completely different. Instead of Callum and Sephy growing up together and sneaking around to see each other throughout their childhood, they reunite in this after a long time apart. Sephy has a boyfriend in the beginning, Lekan. Callum opts for a military service rather than going to Heathcroft High with Sephy. Callum and Jude’s sister, Lynette, doesn’t exist in this story.

The whole story starts off with an illegal gathering that ends in police brutality similar to how black people are treated in the real world, and ends up with the victim, Danny, becoming the martyr figure that the Liberation Militia uses. It’s strange considering that this series came out only a couple of weeks before George Floyd’s death from police brutality, which in turn reignited the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hang on, they brought Pete Tyler (Doctor Who) into this as the leader of the Liberation Militia? Holy f-

Well, at least the Liberation Militia (L.M.) stayed in the fray, which it kinda has to considering it’s the backbone for the first three books. I didn’t recognise that Emily from Friends is in this as Meggie, but it has been a hot second since Ross said Rachel’s name at the altar. And Ryan is Professor Quirrell. I mean sure, at least we know Voldemort isn’t on his head this time…I’m getting sidetracked. But this series initially focuses heavily on the world around them even more so than the books do, I daresay.

Kamal is another character that you love to hate, just like in the books. His words “There is strength in difference” is taken wrongly as well. I would say that in the fact that literally everyone is different and that we can all share our opinions and experiences to make the world a stronger place – you know, the whole Equality and Diversity thing. However, in the context of this series, it’s more grounds for division between Noughts and Crosses.


Of course there are a lot of plot points from the source material that made it into the book. This includes the following:

  • The aforementioned love story between Callum and Sephy
  • Kamal’s illegitimate child (although Yaro is actually present in this instead of being relegated to a news article in Crossfire)
  • Jasmine’s affair at the beginning of the story
  • Meggie being the Hadley’s housekeeper (although she’s fired in the middle of this series rather than at the beginning)
  • Jude being a part of the L.M.
  • Sephy blurting out the slur ‘blanker’ in relatiation to an assault
  • Jasmine’s alcohol problems
  • A bombing and Ryan’s subsequent arrest, trial, imprisonment and death (although the circumstances of his death is different)
  • Callum joining the L.M. and kidnapping Sephy
  • Sephy’s pregnancy (although a lot of circumstances around it are different)

Of course, because of the shift in story, these all happen for different reasons, different motivations, and at different times. But they all work within the story. I’m really pleased that these plot points made it in, despite the difference in the way that the series was structured compared to the books.


One of the things that impressed me about this show was the aesthetic. I think a lot of people assumed that the location would be a regular London city with the Cross elite, but it takes on more of an African theme, which I adore. Of course, it was filmed in South Africa, and the Crosses dress really well, in these traditional outfits. The costuming was beautiful, and so were the locations – yes, even Meadowview, which is supposed too look like a rubbish sack, so I’ve heard. But I love it because of the contrast between the rundown areas where Noughts occupy and the fancy, polished neighbourhoods where Crosses live. I also love the establishing shots with the view of the modified London, focusing on the changes due to the difference in culture.


Overall this series is a hell of a lot darker than the original story. And for that I’m really happy with that. I understand that a lot of book-to-film or book-to-series adaptations can be disappointing if not kept originally to the source material. However, because this doesn’t pretend to follow the story directly, it’s a lot easier to take this adaptation as its own story. It’s easy to draw comparisons and parallels, but that’s just what you do, especially when you’ve literally just read the source material for the 20th time (I’m not even exaggerating).

My partner hasn’t seen the series yet, or read the books. But I’ll be more than happy to watch it with him and I know he’ll really enjoy the TV show more, because of its darker tone and emphasis on militant action.


I really enjoyed this! And I’m looking forward to see what comes of the series, if a series 2 is ever made. I can’t see that happening for various reasons, but mostly due to where the series is in terms of story. So what did you all think of it? Let me know!

The Future of the Community Day Vote Rejects | Pokemon GO

Hey guys! I was thinking about the votes that we’ve had in 2020 surrounding the Community Days. Now, as we’ve had datamined three sets of votes (the first one aside), I wanted to go through each of the rejected candidates and weigh their likelihood to have their own Community Day. I will also be giving my likelihood of taking part, and my personal reasons.

I discussed the exclusive moves with my good friend Sam! Thanks for your help on this!


This post was inspired by the upcoming Machop Community Day, where it was one of the rejected candidates for February 2020 Community Day, and it’s been brought in with the previously-advertised move Payback. With this Pokemon having previously been rejected as a Community Day option, but then brought back with no changes, it actually raises more questions than answers, and all but confirms that Gible, as well as several Unova Pokemon, may not see the light of a Community Day in 2021. This is because what both Magikarp and Machop have confirmed is that Niantic has planned for these Pokemon in the instances that they will be in Community Days, and therefore might as well implement them in one way or another.

We figured out that if all of these Pokemon, together with Machop, got a Community Day, there would only be one slot left for a different Pokemon. Because we now have confirmation that this Pokemon will be Roselia for February, these ten Pokemon featured could be our confirmed Community Days for the rest of 2021. Or part of a new pattern through to 2022, whichever happens.

Also, when I talk about the dependency of bonuses, I’m solely seeking out the 3x XP bonus, as I’m grinding XP for level-ups.


Vulpix

The first of the rejects, and probably would have won if Rhyhorn wasn’t in the same voting bracket. This was because, at the time, Kantonian Vulpix hadn’t been released as a shiny, and shiny Alolan Vulpix was elusive for most. Alolan Vulpix would have been available in (if I recall correctly) Field Research tasks and Raids. Evolving to Ninetales would have given the move Weather Ball, Fire- and Ice-type respectively. However, that will soon be introduced into Ninetales’ natural moveset, so we have to come up with a new exclusive move! We decided on either Extrasensory or Zen Headbutt, adding a Psychic-type move to the moveset.

It may take a while for this one to be released, as we’ve had several events recently that have featured both forms of Vulpix heavily. But I feel that if we have a new exclusive move for Ninetales, it could well happen.

Likelihood of taking part: 3/10 – I already have my shiny living dex for the Vulpix line completed, Alolan forms too. It would depend entirely on the bonuses for the day.


Dratini

At the time of voting, I think Dratini was the least popular choice, purely because it was unheard of that a Pokemon previously featured in a Community Day would get another chance. However, with Dratini having been the second Community Day, and probably the first fully realised (for me anyway), it’s not entirely silly anymore, especially after the Charmander stunt. Evolving Dratini into Dragonite would give it the move Superpower, which would be handy against the Rock- and Ice-types that Dragonite would struggle against in PvP. We haven’t had a full-on Dragon-type Community Day since Bagon back in April 2019, so we are overdue some dragon love.

Likelihood of taking part: 7/10 – while I don’t really want to, it’s a great incentive to get people to achieve their platinum Dragon badge. Plus if the bonuses are good, all the better! I already have my shiny living dex completed for the Dratini line, but Dragonair is also one of my favourite shinies.


Sandshrew

Sandshrew was a part of the first of the revamped votes, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Alolan Sandshrew would have been available in Raids, with its Kantonian counterpart out in the wild. Both Sandslashes would get Shadow Claw

Likelihood of taking part: 4/10 – while I do need a shiny Alolan Sandshrew, unless I was on the tasks where I need to do some raids, I wouldn’t be taking part for the most part. If both counterparts were in the wild, yes I would be more inclined to do it.


Squirtle

Squirtle Community Day proved to be a massive success, riding entirely on the sunglasses Squirtle released exclusively for this event. However, there was never any indication in the promotional materials that the sunglasses Squirtle would make a comeback for the voted Community Day. However, upon evolving, Blastoise would obtain the exclusive move Aura Sphere, which is there purely for PvP purposes. Squirtle is cute, and is my starter of choice, but without the sunglasses variant returning, it won’t be too popular. However, we could also get Mega Energy as Field Research or Special Research rewards if Niantic implemented as such.

Likelihood of taking part: 3/10 – again, I have the entire family in the shiny living dex, and this will depend entirely on the bonuses. I already also have two 100% IV Blastoises.


Caterpie

Caterpie was the one that got the shiny variant a long time before Weedle did. Caterpie lost by a landslide, the same with Grimer, because of Porygon and Charmander’s prominence in the voting. Maybe if they introduced the cowboy hat variant that certain people on Twitter have been crying out for…either way, Butterfree would have had the exclusive move Hurricane, because at least it’d get a same-type attack, I suppose.

Likelihood of taking part: 10/10 – strangely enough, this is one that I don’t have the shinies for any of the evolution line, so this is a dead cert for my participation, unless by the time it rolls around I already have what I want from the Kanto event in February.


Grimer

Just like Sandshrew and Vulpix before it, this one features both the Kantonian and Alolan variants. Again, Alolan Grimer would be relegated to Raid battles, with Kantonian version being out in the wild. Both forms of Muk would get the move Fire Punch upon evolution. That’s as much as I can say on this one.

Likelihood of taking part: 4/10 – it’s the same exact situation as Sandshrew – the one shiny I need is only obtainable via the Raids. Plus I have three 100% IV Kantonian Muk…


Bulbasaur

Bulbasaur has the same issue as Squirtle does, except that Bulbasaur doesn’t get a fancy costume. Bulbasaur was one of the datamined candidates, along with Exeggcute, Magikarp and Starly – however, we know what happened with Magikarp, so we know for certain that the others will happen at some point. Bulbasaur is more often than not outshone because of Charmander and Squirtle. We decided that Venusaur could get Double Edge upon evolution, but imagine if it got Outrage. Like with Squirtle, we could also get Mega Energy as Field Research or Special Research rewards.

Likelihood of taking part: 3/10 – this has the same problem that Squirtle has, that there’s not much riding on this one.


Exeggcute

At this point in the voting options I was wondering if Niantic were running out of ideas, but I suppose they wanted to go through a lot of the Alolan Pokemon. Cubone Community Day next, perhaps? But anyway, what I see them doing is evolving Exeggcute into regular Exeggutor, and adding Alolan Exeggutor in Raids. Both forms of Exeggutor would probably get Magical Leaf.

Likelihood of taking part: 3/10 – again, this simply comes down to the bonuses involved.


Starly

Finally, a non-Kanto Pokemon! Also a Pokemon where its shiny hasn’t been released yet! Somehow, it’s the only non-Kanto Pokemon that was featured across all four voting cycles, which kinda proves Niantic are Genwunners if anything. Starly would have won its vote by a huge landslide, that much I’m certain of. We theorised that Staraptor would get the move Steel Wing upon evolution.

Likelihood of taking part: 10/10 – this one’s a no-brainer.


Overall, 2021 Community Days don’t look too bright if this is the line-up that we have for most of the year. I’m hoping they restart the pattern, starting with Snivy in March, but that’s just a glimmer of hope.

I’ve Read These Books For 15 Years – Noughts and Crosses Discussion

Hey guys! It’s not often I discuss books (my own aside), but I thought I’d make an exception, for now! I wanted to get back into reading, and so I re-read the Noughts and Crosses series. Again. Sorry, it’s just an easy series to pick up. This was just in time, as Endgame, the final (probably) book in the series is coming out in summer 2021! In this case, I might do a breakdown of each of the books and my thoughts on them.

I will also be discussing the TV series in another post down the line.


This series came back into the limelight with the fifth entry Crossfire coming out in 2019, and the BBC series that came out in March 2020. In short, Noughts and Crosses focuses on a dystopian universe where black people, otherwise known as ‘Crosses’ are rulers of the world and white people, also called ‘Noughts’, are the under the rule of Crosses. The series is written by former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, and is set in an alternate version of London. Note that she also co-wrote the Doctor Who episode ‘Rosa’, which explored Rosa Parks’ role in influencing the American civil rights movement and resisted the racial-influenced bus segregation at the time.

When I first read the recommendation for Noughts and Crosses in a teen magazine, it read that it was a forbidden love story, and I didn’t even know about the topic of racial segregation and discrimination until I started reading the first book. I didn’t even focus too heavily on the political aspect. As teenagers, we were discouraged from politics, and is still not taught as part of the National Curriculum. I think it should be taught, but I understand the issue of political bias among the teachers and those who set the topics. My first iota of politics came when I studied Thatcherism for my Film Studies A-Level. If I’d have gone back to sixth-form, Politics may have been a topic I’d broach.


I feel that the more I read these books, the more I understand. Because I’m exposed to more and more in the way of politics, as well as movements such as Black Lives Matter, then issues surrounding Brexit, terrorism and COVID-19, there’s a lot more for me to absorb now than there ever was when I first read the series when I was 15, or even as far back as a few years ago. I feel like the whole purpose is to highlight the struggles that black people face in this world, compared to white people (but reversed in these books because that way, it sends the message a bit closer to home for those of us who were privileged enough to be born white), and even how there would be around 40 years between the very start of Noughts and Crosses and Crossfire, there have been changes to how Noughts were treated, but there are still equality issues within the society. It’s like that at face value, there’s more equality, but underneath the surface it’s still pretty bad, and a lot of the old dogs hadn’t yet died and let the new kids make things more equal.


As it was originally a trilogy, it does sadly suffer from second-book syndrome, where the middle book in a trilogy isn’t that great compared to the others. Knife Edge is good, but it doesn’t grip me as hard as the others. Even Double Cross has a dip in favour for me, but only because I’m not a fan of any fiction relating to the mafia. It’s my biggest gripe with a lot of romance-based alternate universe fanfictions, but Double Cross is still really good, and along with Knife Edge I will still read them. Nowadays, with more information and exposure about mental health issues, Sephy’s puerperal psychosis in Knife Edge is hard to read, considering she has a child to look after, too.

Crossfire was a very hard read at first, only because of Libby’s home life. I could feel Libby’s despair and could empathise with her because of the role she played, being her mother’s play-thing, and her mother being an alcoholic. I was in a situation where I felt trapped and out of control, but on re-reading, I kinda felt more hopeful, despite the present-day scenario and cliffhanger that Libby is in. Nowadays, it’s not as hard to read, but then you also have the false hope of equality, where there are still people who believe that racial segregation is a good thing.


Altogether, I think it says a lot that a book series has stayed with me throughout my adolescence and into adulthood – that isn’t the Harry Potter series! I just can’t wait for the final book, Endgame (depending on if later down the line it actually is the last book).

Pokemon GO Changes – COVID-19

A lot has happened in the wake of the Coronavirus making its way across the world, and there have been precautions taken in various countries to keep people safe (as of writing this, the UK has not taken these precautions).

LeekDuck did an amazing Abra Community Day edit which I decided to use for my featured photo. Thank you LeekDuck for your amazing infograpghics.


Events

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As we are aware, the St. Louis Safari Zone has been postponed, but there isn’t any word yet on any of the other Safari Zones. Currently, the Genesect Special Research is still to go ahead (I’ll share my feelings on that in another post). I feel that we will get more information on events such as Raid Hours and the Genesect Research closer to the time.

However, Abra Community Day has been cancelled for all countries (this was originally cancelled only in Japan, South Korea and Italy). While a lot of people have complained, please remember that a Community Day will amass a lot more popularity than a ticketed Special Research, and therefore a higher chance of spreading the coronavirus.

Features

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It’s worth noting that these changes are taking place until further notice. New quality-of-life updates have been brought in  – just yesterday (12th March) we saw a box of 30 Incense for ONE coin. No, it wasn’t a glitch or a bug, Niantic announced this in the same post as the postponed Community Day. It is a one-time purchase, and the rate of spawns for Incense has increased dramatically (I would say it’s like the Meltan box), and Incense lasts for one hour.

Along with this, there were given information that Pokestops will drop Gifts more frequently, and eggs that are placed into incubators during this period will be 1/2 distance, and there will be more Pokemon spawn points.

As before, we also have Legendary Pokemon as rewards in GO Battle League, for those who don’t want to (or can’t) raid with other people. Niantic has also confirmed the removal of the walking requirement for GO Battle League, in order to prioritise safety for the next 30 days, as well as the distance battling for Friends being reduced to a minimum of Good Friends.

Niantic has also announced that aside from EX Raids that have already been scheduled, there will be no new EX Raid invitations. This means that, possibly, we may never see a Regigigas EX Raid in this cycle again. Genesect is the next featured EX Raid, coming in April.

Next Steps: Bridging The Gap

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Get it? Bridging? It’s a bridge? Tough crowd, huh.

On a more serious note, I think that while we have these measures in place, more could be done to help others. One of the things that keeps being brought up, especially now, is distance trading. Right now, we still have to be close to someone to trade, and it’s not beneficial if we get Lucky Friends with someone but can’t trade with them, even locally. To not make it too broken, I would suggest, like non-GBL PVP, we could be Ultra Friends with someone before doing a distance trade.

Niantic could also bring out a long-awaited feature – a home base. This home base can be a customisable Pokestop that only you can visit, and can only stay at your house. Instead of normal Pokestops, this can only be spun every ten minutes. This is because then it would be too over-powered. That way, they can also obtain Gifts to send to other friends, as well as maintain Field Research tasks and GO Rocket battles.

Speaking of Field Research, any tasks that require extensive walking, battling in Gyms and Raids should be temporarily removed in favour of any tasks that involve catching Pokemon, with the rewards that could have been obtained by the removed tasks.

Another way to make safety possible is either allowing 4* and 5* raids to be soloed, or even reducing the amount of those raids, to prevent possible large gatherings.

The safest thing to do would be to postpone all events to discourage reckless gameplay at this time. But that’s just my opinion.


So that’s the basics of what’s happening at the moment (as of 13th March, of course). Remember to stay safe, self-isolate if needs be and wash your hands! Also, hand sanitiser rocks!

We Need To Discuss Multiple Accounts on Pokemon Go

I’ve been doing an experiment with a secondary Pokemon Go account, and the experiment is to see if the hypothesis is correct where newer accounts are favoured more for shinies than long-term players. I will discuss my findings here, as I realised there was more to it than just having an extra account.

I just wanted to go through the logistics of using multiple accounts on Pokemon Go. This can range from using two phones to using the same phone, switching between accounts on that phone. The easiest way to set this up is to download the app from two different sources – my method is the initial APK file (Google Play releases updates a lot later than the APK file), and Galaxy Store (I use a Samsung Galaxy J3 2016 model).

The upsides to multiple accounts are:

  • The second account helps with raid numbers – this is mainly if the secondary account is of a high level with good counters. One account could make the difference between winning and losing a raid, especially if you can’t make up the other numbers or the rest of the raid party are lower-levelled.
  • An extra chance for shinies – it’s true that having a second account still gives you the same odds for a shiny (as you’d think – my experiment is testing that), it provides extra coverage if you don’t seem lucky with certain shinies. For example, I’ve gone over 1100 encounters without finding a shiny Aron, but an extra account means that I could encounter one and trade it to my main account.
  • An extra chance for new Pokedex entries – logistically, having 18 10km eggs on the go instead of 9 grants nine extra chances for a rare Pokemon such as Riolu or Gible.
  • Friending yourself = more XP/Gifts/Items/Lucky trade – a lot of multiple accounters added their main account as a friend, and one of my friends is reaping the benefits. He has had a good amount of Lucky trades, some of them traded with himself.

The main downside is that multiple accounts are essentially violating the game’s Terms of Service. I mean, that is literally it. Niantic could pull the plug on both accounts if they felt it necessary.

So do I feel multiple accounts are good? Sort of. While I don’t feel that they are as bad as some people make out to be, it’s essentially breaking the Terms of Service.

So I want to ask you this: how do you feel about multiple accounts? Do you run more than one account?