written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The first story based DLC for the prequel in the Arkham games universe. Cold, Cold Heart tells a very familiar story... if you're as old as I am and remember the amazing Batman the Animated Series television show, you'll notice this DLC episode's plot follows very closely the plot in the episode "Heart of Ice." Much of my opinions of the gameplay mirror that from the original review, so check it out if you are interested.
The story starts with Bruce Wayne presenting the Humanitarian of the Year award to Ferris Boyle of GothCorp. Before the ceremony can conclude, Mister Freeze crashes the party the best way he knows how... by bringing the ice and freezing the guests.
The first part of the DLC pack involved Bruce having to fight through waves of the Penguin's thugs in hopes to reach the Batcave and suit up. Eventually you get suited up and proceed to push back Freeze and his gang of Penguin thugs, but in true comic book fashion he's too late to save Boyle and Freeze absconds with the humanitarian. At this point the whole world opens up, you don't have the entirety of Arkham Origin's Gotham to play in but a good amount of it is at your disposal. As you flex Batman's detective skills to find any trace of Boyle, a few side missions involving Anarky bombs and saving frozen cops serve to offer a slight distraction from the main mission. While the frozen cops did feel right at home on this DLC episode, the Anarky bombs seemed like they were shoe-horned into the narrative.
Batman's full arsenal is at your disposal, he's fully upgraded and except for his glue grenade (which according to Alfred, the compound began to break down after the Christmas Eve incident). I was hoping that there would be some kind of replacement for the glue grenade. Unfortunately, the cryo grenades Bats used in Arkham City weren't utilized for this DLC episode. While armed to the teeth, I did feel limited a bit without one of my favorite Arkham Origins gadgets.
New to the DLC is a thermal Batsuit. It looks pretty badass but somehow this didn't slow Bats down much, perhaps they explained something about it being developed from lightweight alloy plates or whatever, but I can't remember. Batman's shock gloves are traded for thermal heat gloves, I was hoping for these heat gauntlets to operate differently than the shock gloves, but nope... they simply do the same but instead of shocking your enemies you give em a nasty burn.
The final confrontation with freeze is an over the top predator encounter. You can hurl thermal batarangs at icicles on the ceiling to drop on unsuspecting baddies or ambush freeze from behind a wall of ice. The final confrontation, while fun and offering some of it's own challenges, felt by large a play by numbers predator mission. I think back to the freeze encounter from Arkham City and how imaginative it was, forcing you to find every possible way to damage Freeze since no tactic could work twice. In comparison, the encounter in Cold, Cold Heart felt lacking in comparison to everything Rocksteady has done with the franchise.
Before I conclude this, I feel compelled to mention the bugs... oh the bugs you didn't seem to QA out. While Arkham Origins had its share of game breaking bugs, I have never had to restart from the beginning so many times. Twice I was forced to start a new game because the waypoint on the map for a mission just vanished. Couple this with some jarring frame rate issues and some instances of audio out of sync with what's happening on screen, I wonder how much Q&A time they gave the DLC before launch.
While more Batman is always a good thing, I was hoping for the experience to be a bit more imaginative. Measuring up against the Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC from Arkham City, this DLC episode felt like a play-by-numbers Batman mission that would have fit fine in the core game. While I know Arkham Origins is no Arkham City and while WB Games did an admirable job with the engine; it's just hard to live up to Rocksteady. Cold, Cold Heart served as a pleasant little appetizer before the full course I can expect this Fall in Arkham Knight, but the lack of imaginative gameplay made this mission feel a bit boring.
+ more Batman
+ Thermal Batsuit is BAMF material
- mission lacked imagination
- the story's been told before
- buggy as all hell