Developer: Warner Bros. Montreal Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action Platform Played: PC
Cold, Cold Heart is a story add-on for 2013’s Batman: Arkham Origins. It is set on New Years Eve, roughly a week after the events of the base game. Developer WB Montreal tells the story of Batman’s first encounter with Mr. Freeze. The result is a solid stand-alone experience which makes the idea of episodic Batman story content appealing.
The sequence of Mr. Freeze’s origin story plays out much like any other villain focused portion of a Batman Arkham game: Batman chases after a villain who has partaken in criminal behaviour, explores and backtracks through a few locations and then ends the arc with a climatic finale, usually involving a boss fight. This tried and true formula works fine with Cold, Cold Heart, albeit the reuse of locations creates an unwanted feeling of déjà vu in some sections. With that said, the introduction of new locations, such as Wayne Manor and GothCorp keep Cold, Cold Heart feeling fresh.
For a story which can be finished in under three hours (you could spend four or five hours if you do the few side activities on offer), I was engaged for the whole duration. Due to Mr. Freeze going on a bit of a freezing rampage in Gotham, the add-on is limited to two sections of the massive map. This shortens travel time from location to location, meaning you can jump into the action quicker.
Thankfully, Cold, Cold Heart is very much the same Batman game. As Batman you will face rooms of thugs, utilising the same great free flow combat which is almost common practice in action games nowadays. There are several predator sequences in which Batman must clear out an area of armed enemies without being spotted. And there is exploration around the cut off area of the city. As with the base game, this is all great fun. The controls are responsive, animations sublime and, once again, you feel like the caped crusader. Further, the introduction of a new Batman suit later in the story adds new gameplay elements such as burning through iced doors and using thermal charged batarangs to drop stalactites on unsuspecting foes. Oh, and did I mention the new suit looks awesome?!
While it is great to discover how Victor Fries became Mr. Freeze, I can’t help but feel all of the plot twists and resolutions occurred at once. I found it quite overwhelming having all of this information spewed at me in the space of a couple of minutes. Not to mention it was done in the form of a guided investigation sequence (just replicate RockSteady and let us find the clues without a red arrow being displayed above them, WB Montreal). Nevertheless, it did leave me satisfied once all of the puzzle pieces fitted together.
References to the base game are plentiful. At first it is a nice touch, but after a while it gets annoying. Perhaps more subtle references would have been less ‘in your face’.
With the usual backtracking involved in a Batman Arkham game, Cold, Cold Heart, at one stage, felt like a big fetch quest. This feeling came to me about half way through the game when I had to travel to a recycled base game location and then find parts of an item scattered around Gotham. I have to admit, the fetch quest feeling did not last for too long as the story was quickly advanced soon after.
Another issue I have with the game is the final boss battle’s feeling of, “been there, done that”. It has some resemblances to Arkham City’s Mr. Freeze boss fight. That is, you have to find methods to beat him other than simply wailing on him. With that said, I felt the boss battle lasted for a suitable duration once I worked out all of my options.
Cold, Cold Heart is a solid addition to the Batman: Arkham Origins base game. The small, stand-alone nature of Mr. Freeze’s origins story has left me hungry for more content like this in the Batman video game universe. WB Montreal has kept the same great Arkham mechanics and added a couple of new gadgets and locations to freshen up the experience. Cold, Cold Heart is a fun, enjoyable add-on to the Arkham Origins base game. I would love to see more of this content for other Batman villains in the future.
+ More Batman
+ XE Suit looks awesome
+ Stand-alone tale with a satisfying ending
– Can feel like a big fetch quest at times