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I'm evaluating whether or not I should get this rather cheap DLC and I've boiled it down to the two following questions. I'll draw the conclusions myself.

  • Does the DLC change the game forever? Is it rather an option at launch or in the settings screen? I know Steam doesn't normally allow you to 'hide' the fact you have DLC purchased for a game.
  • How does the difficulty change? Is the game with the DLC objectively harder, easier or just "randomer" than the "vanilla" game is? Is it meant to be a "new-game-plus" content pack for the players who've seen everything from the game?
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Your question is particularly interesting considering Wrath of the Lamb is PC only, while the vanilla game is PC+Mac. I'd imagine that this would force them to keep the two games apart, but who knows? (someone, hopefully) –  Aubergine May 28 '12 at 20:41
    
A third option, which I suggest, is getting the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. It includes a ton of extra content beyond what WoTL added, and also has a new non-flash engine allowing for fullscreen and native controller support. The only negative to this option is that is has new music, which I like less than the original's. –  Fambida Feb 15 at 18:39
    
It's important to quote McMillen's last update: "I thought it might be cool to attempt to patch the old game with a new “hard mode” that will feature tons of new eternal bosses, enemies and a few other little features that will keep skilled players on their toes. This update will be free, but will only update for those of who own Wrath of the Lamb." –  pinckerman Feb 16 at 17:28

3 Answers 3

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The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb is an official DLC expansion to The Binding of Isaac, which adds new Items, Rooms, Enemies, Bosses, and more. The DLC was released on Steam on May 28, 2012 and costs $2.99/£1.99/2.99€.

I will explain everything it adds, so I can back up my conclusion.

  • 10 Challenges
  • 35 new achievements
  • 34 new "secrets"
  • New harder alternate floors
  • 2 new endings to the game
  • 6 new rooms that can spawn
  • A massive amount of new enemies
  • New bosses (most who are harder variants of old ones)
  • 4 new obstacles
  • The "Curses" are added to the game
  • Trinkets are added

There are a lot of things added to the game with it. The ones not really contributing to the difficulty are the Achievements and the Challenges, so I will not go over them.

There will be spoilers in this answer, so if you want to learn about everything yourself, do not read anything below this.

The secrets are: Samson, D20, Crucifix, Abel, Curved Horn, Sacrificial Knife, Rainbow Baby, Blood Lust, Blood Rights, Bloody Penny, The Polariod, Isaac's Head, Maggy's Faith, Cain's Eye, Judas' Tounge, Eve's Bird Foot, ???'s Soul, Samson's Lock, the Candle, Lucky Toe, Burnt Penny, Guppy's Tail, A Fish Head, Mega Fetus, Super Fan, Spider Butt, Counterfiet Coin, the Egg Sack, Guppy's Hairball, A Forgotten Horseman, Something Icky, The Left Hand, and Dad's Key. All of these are linked to either a new item, trinket, or boss.

The new harder alternate floors do make the game more difficult. Overall, the alternates have harder variants of enemies compared to the Pre-WL versions. The hardest implement is probably the Cellar, with the addition of insane spider based enemies, which can ruin any new player's day.

The two new endings are the Cathedral and the Chest. In the Cathedral, you fight a harder final boss, and in the Chest, you fight a harder variant of that boss. If you choose to go down to those endings, the game does get harder (but only if you choose that path).

Six new types of rooms are added.

  • Angel Room: An alternate to the Devil room, it gives you an item themed after Angels instead of Demons, and the item does not cost a heart to take.

  • Curse Room: These rooms with a spiked door cost a total of 1 heart to use (half to enter, half to exit). (You can use flying to avoid the entrance damage, but the exit damage always happens). Inside, there are either 1 - 2 red chests, or (if you are lucky) an item from either the Devil Room, the Angel Room, or the Secret Room (Devil item here does not count as Deal with the Devil).

  • Sacrifice Room: This room had a spike in the middle. If you take damage on the spikes there is a chance that a chest will spawn. The rate at which they drop though, is all randomized. (There is also a very small chance for a Devil Room item to drop from this).

  • Boss Challenge Room: These variants of Challenge rooms always have a Boss Room item in them, instead of a chest. But, you need 1 or less red hearts to enter (Soul Hearts do not effect this). Instead of fighting normal enemies, you fight a couple of bosses.

  • Library: This room looks identical to the shop from the outside, but on the inside, contains two books that can be picked up for free. Like the shop, it requires a key.

  • Super Secret Room: This Secret Room does not follow the normal pattern for Secret Rooms, and is usually harder to find. What is inside depends on the tile set of the room.

The amount of new enemies is staggering, so I won't be able to go over all of them. I will go over some of the important ones though.

  • Spider and Big Spider: These enemies skitter across the floor in very random movement patterns. The Big variant splits into two the normal variants when it dies.

  • Mulliboom: This Mulligan with a bomb on his head will bee-line towards you can try to touch you. If he touches you, he will explode, dealing damage.

  • Walking Boil/Sack/Gut: A walking variant of the previously immobile Boil/Sack/Gut.

  • Fat Fly: This variation of the Pooter shoots two bullets similarly to Harlequin Baby .

  • Keeper: A bouncing Greed head, has the same effect of Greed. Shoots similarly to Fat Fly.

  • Hanger: A flying variant of the Keeper, fires similarly to Greed.

  • Mask + Heart: The masks are invincible beings that chase you much like Knights. Each one though, is linked to a Heart that spawns with it. It dies when the Heart it is linked to dies.

  • Sack: Similar to a Boil, but spawns spiders instead of shooting.

There are many new bosses added to the game, many which are "dead" versions of the boss it is based off of.

The list of posthumous bosses are:

  • The Blighted Ovum : Gemini
  • The Carrion Queen : Chub
  • The Hollow : Larry Jr.
  • The Husk : The Duke of Flies
  • The Wretched : Widow
  • The Bloat : Peep
  • Lokii : Loki
  • Teratoma : Fistula
  • ??? : Isaac
  • Conquest : Headless Horseman (Not posthumous, but a harder variant of it)
  • Pin : Scolex (Not posthumous, but an easy, early variant of it)

The new bosses are:

  • Gurdy Jr. :Many floors: A mini version of Gurdy, but instead of sitting in the middle, it bounces around the room.

  • Widow :Basement: A spider that jumps around the room much like Monstro. But, it jumps much farther and much more often. She will spit out spiders, and create White Creep puddles, which slow you down. Often in those creep puddles, she will spawn a Sack. (A relatively hard boss for the floor she is on).

  • Daddy Long Legs :Necropolis/Utero: This boss hangs from the ceiling. He can cough up spiders like the Widow. To attack, he will either: stomp all four of his feet around the room, raise into the air, then stomp each foot once after another, or slam his head into the ground.

  • Isaac :Cathedral: This boss sits in the middle of the room, and launches streams of tears to hurt you. When he takes some damage, he will stand up, and shoot homing tears along with his basic attacks. Lastly, when near death, he will start to fly, and "Crack the Sky" (Pillars of light will shoot down, and will hurt you), and he will spawn in Angel Babies.

Also, all of the 7 Deadly Sins got an upgraded form. They all get a Super variant, which has upgraded abilities.

  • Super Gluttony: He fires a laser in both directions, and spits out a mass of tears at the player when he does his radial attack.

  • Super Lust: Gotta go fast! Sprints towards the player leaving a trail of red Creep behind. She will bounce off of walls and move crazily, making it a very dangerous boss to fight.

  • Super Wrath: Instead of spawning a Troll Bomb and trying to kick it at you, he spawns Super Troll Bombs which home in on you. They do considerable damage to him, so he holds a double edged sword.

  • Super Greed: He fires 4 shots instead of three, and instead of spawning Hoppers, he spawns Keepers.

  • Super Envy: Instead of splitting into two pieces each time a piece breaks, he splits into three.

  • Super Pride: Along with shooting the laser beams, he shoots a tear in each cardinal direction. And, instead of six Troll Bombs, he spawns two Super Troll Bombs.

  • Super Sloth: Launches out two shots of IPECAC bombs, and can spawn two spiders.

  • Ultra Pride: Another variant of Pride, this one is not similar to its previous forms. When he spawns in, it also spawns in a (specific) Baby. This baby shoots homing shots (not very often). Pride himself with either shoot out three homing projectiles (that deal 1 full heart of damage normally) or a horizontal line of green Creep.

The four new obstacles appear in rooms and can either help you harm the player.

  • Cobweb: These slow down the player, and slow down his projectiles.

  • Hellfireplace: this alternate fire will sometimes hoot at the player. The projectile is low moving and easy to dodge, but if not paying attention, it can easily ruin a run.

  • Golden Poop: Similar to Poop, this one drops at least 5 coins when destroyed, or a Trinket.

  • Corny Poop: This Poop has an Eternal Fly orbiting it, and if the Poop gets destroyed, will turn into a buffed attack fly and try to chase the player.

The curses added to the game do make the game harder.

  • Curse of Darkness: Removes the map.

  • Curse of the Labyrinth: XL sized floor. 2x Treasure Room, 2x (linked) boss rooms, etc. NOTE: if on first floor, both Treasure Rooms will cost a key to open.

  • Curse of the Lost: Expands the floor size to a size bigger. If you get it on the Basement, the floor will be sized after the Caves/Catacombs, and so on.

Trinkets: These passive items take up their own spot. They all have an effect (some better than others) and can only get removed if a new one is picked up.

Conclusion:

The change in difficulty though, is more opinion and experience based than anything. A new person, who only played a couple runs on both, would more than likely say that Wrath of the Lamb is a harder version, while a more experienced player would get used to it pretty fast. But, besides that, there is no way to get around the fact that harder enemies and bosses were added, along with a harder ending and harder floors (and even curses to mix everything up). And, seeing that not all of the new items are good, and a couple of the trinkets can ruin a run by themselves (looking at you, Cursed-Skull), Wrath of the Lamb makes the game harder. Having said that, it can be a New Game Plus for those who "completed" the first game, but a new player could start on it and it would not be that different (besides more difficulty). The difficulty spike is not too high, and the learning curve to get used to the changes is very smooth, so anyone could get into it without having to master the first game.

And, for your question if it is forever or not:

Recently, Steam will tell you what DLC you have downloaded, and if you want to de-activate it or not. You will keep anything that was unlocked without the DLC, and if you unlock a Wrath of the Lamb thing, then un-install it, you will keep it unlocked (when you re-install it). You do not loose progress if you switch between versions.

I tested the above out myself.

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I feel like I just wrote a research paper. –  Shadow Z. Feb 15 at 18:14

I have the DLC for the PC, and at startup, the game was different. I believe the DLC is active from the time that you buy it, there is no option to turn it "on" or "off", at least not from what I saw.

And in my opinion, the DLC makes the game significantly harder, but in a random way, if that makes any sense. It all depends on which levels you end up with — if you end up with the regular Isaac levels (basement, caves, depths, womb), then the difficulty will be changed somewhat by the appearance of the newer enemies or bosses. So in that case, it will be ramped up a bit. However, if you end up entering one of the newer, "alternate" stages (cellar, catacombs, necropolis, utero), the random challenges and more difficult level layouts, paired with the possibility of two bosses in one level, as well as the more frequent new enemy/boss encounters, will make for an incredibly ramped up difficulty of play.

Hope my explanation helped, I for one have only played through the new DLC three times, and saw two seperate walkthroughts for it, so that's what I've gathered from what I've seen.

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I should point out that it is now possible to uninstall DLCs from Steam. Right click the game from your library, switch to the DLC library and uncheck the "Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb" entry. I have no idea what that does to your save file, however! Back it up before you try anything. –  badp Aug 10 '14 at 11:07

I've also recently purchased the DLC, and unlike certain games where you end up with two entries in your Steam library, once you download Wrath of the Lamb the old games executable is overwritten, so there's no playing the game without the DLC.

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Difficulty wise, I'd say the game is definitely harder, for several reasons:

  • Some of the new enemies are much more dangerous than "classic" enemies on the same levels. The spiders (I'm talking about the little flashing ones) are a very good example.
  • The new levels contain additional static hazards (such as the spider webs that slow you down).
  • The new bosses are definitely more difficult than the classic bosses on the same level (though they only appear on the alternate versions of levels, so I'm referring to how deep down you are).
  • Curses can make things even more challenging, such as the curse of darkness that effectively disables your minimap (these just happen at the beginning of a level on occasion, as far as I can tell).
  • Some old bosses are simply more difficult. Famine, for example, can now spawn "juicy pooters" (I have no idea what these are called, the new pooter version that fires two shots at once).
  • Everything is out to get you. There are new dangerous versions of flames and even poop.
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