[DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

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[DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby TheJester » Apr 22nd, 2014, 9:44 pm

Is the final DLC for Batman: Arkham Origins a frozen delight or another Schwarzenegger?


Revenge is a dish best served cold, and Warner Bros. Games Montreal certainly stepped up to the plate with this final DLC for their take on Rocksteady's Arkham franchise. And whom better to dive into the 'Origins' of than Mr. Freeze, a Batman rogue who rose to fame after his appearance in the iconic animated series in the early 90s.

In fact, it's hard not to see the developers' love for 'BTAS' throughout this story DLC - the plot is loosely based on fan favourite episode 'Heart of Ice', in which The Dark Knight must rescue humanitarian Ferris Boyle from a chilly demise at the hands of one giant ice robot, but all is not as it seems. Even the opening title screen beautifully mimics the original series' title card, and there are multiple references through dialogue that are subtle nods to the infamous episode. Needless to say, knowledgeable Bat fans will definitely appreciate these Easter eggs.

The story itself is essentially a retelling of said episode, but has more twists and turns for gameplay value. We open with a fantastic sequence in Wayne Manor, where you fight your way through thugs that have invaded the mansion before travelling through a secret passage to don your cape and cowl. From then on it's a race to find Mr. Boyle before Freeze quite literally breaks the ice, and you'll bump into a few familiar faces along the way, including a hilarious cameo from Nolan North as the Penguin, who was sadly underutilised in the main campaign. Maurice LaMarche reprises his role from Arkham City as Freeze, and his voice work shines through as the highlight of the DLC. With such well written dialogue paying homage to the original animated classic, it's bizarre to be both intimidated by and sympathetic towards a character in such a way. Overall the story is a little underwhelming if you know the basics of Freeze's origins, especially considering how emotionally driven it's source material was, but has a few touching moments here and there to keep you interested.


Gameplay has also evolved thanks to the addition of the new XE suit; an Iron Man-esque fashion statement that allows you to kick criminal ass whilst in subzero temperatures, and use your Thermal Gloves to free frozen civilians, or just allow for interesting new takedowns. Whilst the suit has a great design, with its bulky shoulder pads and mouth-less cowl, the only new feature it gives us is a copy and paste of the Shock Gauntlets from the main game. Whilst this is only a slight disappointment, it's a shame to also see this new suit isn't available to use in the external challenge maps, nor are any of the new locations available as said maps outside of this DLC. It's a flaw that Arkham City's 'Harley Quinn's Revenge' also had, and one that will hopefully be fixed third time around for the upcoming Arkham Knight.

Unfortunately this isn't the only deja vu you'll notice in this DLC. In the free roam sections of the game (notably reduced down to just the South District of Gotham, giving you a much smaller environment to play with), you'll have the chance to take out some Anarky thugs in order to earn yourself some upgrades. Whilst this could have been an interesting side quest to tie in with the main narrative, it's evident some of these sections were taken directly from gameplay shown at Origin's E3 preview last year - which didn't make the final cut of the main game. Interesting really, when you think about how developers Warner Bros. Games Montreal stated they wouldn't be releasing any more patches for the infamously buggy Arkham Origins to focus on this DLC, yet they merely added unused elements into the latter. Sheer laziness, or severe pressure from Warner Bros? That's an answer to decide for yourself. Regardless, the Anarky missions are few in number and are basic combat encounters that are brain-numbingly simple to beat.

What is a challenge however is the several Silent Predator encounters you'll face. Multiple enemies, a whole lot of guns, hostages to boot - you'll need to think your way through these ones. The boss fight is, again, suspiciously similar to Arkham City's Mr. Freeze showdown, but incorporates these stealth elements to the point where you really have to be on your toes to avoid getting spotted. Combat remains the same, and offer less of a challenge if you're an experienced Arkham gamer. However the introduction of enemies with cryogenic equipment is a nice little addition that is a neat aesthetic touch, but can become tedious to avoid.


Another disappointment is the laggy graphics. There is a distinct difference between the CGI cutscenes and the ones rendered in-game, and the lip sync is frankly embarrassing. It's a shame really, as many of said computer rendered cinematics are stunning to look at, and a lot of the new locations such as Wayne Manor and Nora's containment unit are great setpieces to admire. You'll find yourself sitting through many black loading screens in order to transition into a dialogue driven encounter, and then grimace your way through dodgy lip movements. It's a problem I certainly never noticed in the main game itself, so it's a pity to see it show up here when several elements of this DLC seem lazily strung together as is.

At its core, A Cold, Cold Heart is a neat little extra to add to the Arkhamverse lore, but fails to add any original gameplay aspects that'll make you get your money's worth. Thankfully, its clear love for Batman: The Animated Series saves this DLC from freezing solid in the ice cold blizzard of unoriginality, and is sure to warm true Bat fans' hearts.

Score: 5/10

Taken from my blog here.
Last edited by TheJester on Apr 23rd, 2014, 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby Harvey Bullock » Apr 22nd, 2014, 9:50 pm

Awesome review as always. :) Though personally I'd bump up the score another two points. Still, very cool review. :freeze2:

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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby wonkierstarnut » Apr 22nd, 2014, 9:51 pm

Great review jester! i would give it a bit of a higher mark maybe a 7 but apart from that you hit all the right cords :adam:
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby BATCAT123 » Apr 22nd, 2014, 10:08 pm

Good review, haven't played it yet.
Without spoiling, what's the boss fight like?
Are the predator maps replayable in the challenge section?
Does the suit count as an extra character and can it be used in challenge maps?
Sorry for the questions. :batman2:
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby Benji » Apr 22nd, 2014, 10:16 pm

Great review Jester!

Dont think Ill be getting CCH, not anytime soon anyway.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby TheJester » Apr 22nd, 2014, 10:35 pm

I gave it quite a low score as I found the story very underwhelming when you compare it to the emotionally driven Heart of Ice. There are a few touching moments between Victor and Nora, but this wasn't as impactful as something like the monologues in HoI.

BATCAT123 wrote:Good review, haven't played it yet.
Without spoiling, what's the boss fight like?
Are the predator maps replayable in the challenge section?
Does the suit count as an extra character and can it be used in challenge maps?
Sorry for the questions. :batman2:

Boss fight is pretty much exactly the same as AC's boss fight with him, except there are other enemies and a few new ways you can take him out via the XE suit.

Nope and nope. Mentioned that in my review :P
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby legion » Apr 22nd, 2014, 11:03 pm

Any new character trophies?
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby crush8503 » Apr 23rd, 2014, 12:37 am

I was disappointed with this DLC. It doesn't cover much new ground in terms of story.
Spoiler: show
If you've already seen "heart of ice" from Batman TAS, then you pretty much know the plot of the DLC.
Gameplay was more of the same. Even the side missions are identical to the ones in the main campaign.
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Batman Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart DLC

Postby HarshFact » Apr 23rd, 2014, 1:02 am

Based rather loosely to some extent and heavily on others, A Cold, Cold Heart is an adaptation of the Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice" with the narrative of the DLC focused on the origins of the infamous Mister Freeze. retelling the tragic tale of Dr.Victor Fries as he's life is destroyed when he is betrayed by the gothcorp CEO Feris Boyle.

The DLC opens up with the humanitarian of the year award being presented to Feris Boyle as he's momentarily attacked By freeze after forcing Bruce Wayne to enter the cave and suit up to rescue Boyle from Freeze. the intro section is done with great care and i would go as far as pointing out that it is the most enjoyable section of the DLC with refrences towards Arkham Origins itself and the problems which are caused by Bane's attack on the cave and so on and it is great to see anther entry to the cave which Bruce uses along with recurring characters such as Vici Vale and Alfred which make up for an awesome time in the intro.

however in terms of narrative the pace does get a bit slow and tedious this is particularly sad to see considering the team have really put great effort into designing a building such as Gothcorp but the amount o mini-tasks and complications that present themselves between the final freeze encounter and the very little story there is can be very tedious and unbalanced. the fact that you have to accomplish tasks such as obtaining access codes (which are turning into an Arkham cliche itself at this point) and leaving the Gothcorp building itself twice for very weak narrative reasons does get annoying at times. especially with the addition that you spend the majority of the time of the third task after something called "ice drill" and on contrary to what you might believe is not an actual gadget but rather used for breaking an ice wall and that's pretty much it. it would be a better decision to have the XE suit development suit and other unlockables and narrative happening within a hugely designed Gothcorp and giving a better immersive experience instead of breaking the narrative for very poor reasons.

the gameplay additions of the new XE suit are very great, besides from looking insanely cool it does bring a couple of new moves and sort of does alter some equipment but not to a very impressive level should be pointed out, however for what it is it's actually very welcomed however the lack of freedom in the complete map (like HQR) or being able to return to Batcave the very least and change suits back to free-roam with the default origins suit or any other is a big disappointment to me at least.

The Boss Fight with Mr.freeze felt like a step-down from Rocksteady's incarnation and not on par with the different feeling WBGM pulled off with the remarkable Deathstroke. though to be fair there was really no other way to take this one home, however i would say that i find the addition of thugs entering the room as i do with the two-face and the harley Boss fight in AC and other similar ones quite annoying and the largely designed spaces does take away from the enclosed and therefore more stressful mouse & cat game feeling that AC had and the sense of being psychically not capable of taking Freeze head on was accomplished much better in AC than here. i had no fear of freeze in this DLC simply because vantage points were all available and his health was much more vulnerable to attack than Ac however the final moments of Actually trying to save freeze as Boyle was trying to beat him down had a cleverness to it dues to the fact of working for exactly the reverse and trying to take down Boyle before Freeze's health depletes.

which brings me to he slightly "altered" version of Freeze's own back-story and my main problem with the DLC apart from the mentioned so far. in The animated Series Boyle terminates Victor's research because he's losing funds due to victor working towards curing his wife while in the DLC it's mentioned that Victor made a deal with Boyle and apparently he was tricking him to learn more about his technology in return to do research on his wife. the main issue with this is that the fact that freeze made a deal with Boyle diminishes two brilliant aspect of Freeze as a whole, firstly if Nora was sick and Boyle knew this before actually making a deal with Freeze than the origin loses the stone-cold feeling of Boyle being insanely cruel to Freeze and pulling the plug off on Nora hence the majority of his motivation to take revenge on Boyle in the first place! so basically in this DLC freeze is pissed at Boyle and kidnaps him just cause Boyle bailed out on him in the deal? i may have missed something here so please do correct me if i'm wrong. they try to make up for this in the end by having Boyle beat the crap out of Nora and trying to kill her which seemed like a bit of over dramatic "villain-iaztion" on WBGM's part. also the TAS version adds a grey moral ground since freeze was in no position to make a deal, he was just an old friend who begged Boyle for help and he threw him away and when you think about it although very cruel but for good reasons if Boyle hadn't shut down the project, someone else would it sort of acted as a commentary on industrial companies while in the game they try to make Boyle extra evil by having a secret cryogenic weapon department as well.

As a whole for me it's on par with HQR, however in HQR's defense it actually gave us an insight to a post-AC world we didn't know about (such as Bruce not talking to anyone) plus a more interesting and sinister premise , A Cold, Cold Heart however seems to make most of the mistakes HQR did while somehow losing the moral glory and the brilliance of a classic TAS episode in the process, however DLC is equipped with a very cool looking new suit, the city actually does look much better and has a certain color to it while maintaining the coldness, the designers have simply done great work on both Gothcorp and wayne manor.

my final score on this DLC would be 6/10
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby Pieter » Apr 23rd, 2014, 6:39 am

Great Review as always Jester !
I still haven't played it yet.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby RdJokr » Apr 23rd, 2014, 6:55 am

5/10 is a little low for this. I'd give this a 7.5-8 at least.
Nevertheless, great review.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby BuNKiTZ » Apr 23rd, 2014, 9:25 am

Great review, Jester! :D

It sounds pretty disappointing though, not that I had high expectations to begin with. Still, I think I'll buy it in the future just because it's a Mister Freeze story. Plus, I really, really love ice and the cold in general, so seeing those frozen places and whatnot is sure to put a smile on my face :P

$9.99 for a buggy, and what seems to be a not-that-great DLC... Not that bad, I guess. I'd prefer if it was slightly cheaper.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby Red_Robin » Apr 23rd, 2014, 6:38 pm

Surprised to see you rip into this such much considering how much you loved Origins, J. Personally, I found it to be more entertaining that Origins in many respects, and certainly a smoother experience with regards to bugs.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby TheJester » Apr 23rd, 2014, 6:53 pm

Red_Robin wrote:Surprised to see you rip into this such much considering how much you loved Origins, J. Personally, I found it to be more entertaining that Origins in many respects, and certainly a smoother experience with regards to bugs.

It's pretty much the same as how I liked Arkham City but not HQR :P I honestly can't give this any higher than a 5/10. A 3/5 stars if you will. As I said in the review, it didn't have the emotional aspect that made HoI so great. There's elements of it, sure, but for the most part it's hardly explored. Also thought that Roger Craig Smith's delivery in this was a little off.

Updated the OP with a few grammatical tweaks and the odd re-write. Thanks for all the kind words though, I'm pretty proud of this review.
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Re: [DLC] Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Postby AW8 » Apr 23rd, 2014, 8:34 pm

TheJester wrote:At its core, A Cold, Cold Heart is a neat little extra to add to the Arkhamverse lore, but fails to add any original gameplay aspects that'll make you get your money's worth. Thankfully, its clear love for Batman: The Animated Series saves this DLC from freezing solid in the ice cold blizzard of unoriginality, and is sure to warm true Bat fans' hearts.

True words, I agree completely.
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