Batman: Arkham Origins - Cold, Cold HeartOverview -
Since before the release of the prequelesque 'Batman: Arkham Origins' Warner Bros. has teased a single-player DLC episode, and before 2013 ended, the first details of 'Batman: Arkham Origins - Cold, Cold Heart' became public. Set for the New Year's Eve following 'Origins' Christmas, the teasers showed what looked like a Wayne Manor awards ceremony crashed by Freeze and co. After that, as with many odd aspects of the 'Origins' game, the DLC episode slipped, was cancelled for the Wii U, and only released after the hype train had started for 'Batman: Arkham Knight.' The episode represents the most ambitious DLC for the 'Arkham' series and stars a favorite enemy, and thus it's time to jump back into 'Batman Arkham Origins.'
Frankly, the visuals are on another strata from 'Harley Quinn's Revenge' just by virtue of having some new art assets. The new Batsuit is very sharp even if it continues the confusing "this a prequel but Batman's gear is more advanced" idiosyncrasy. Still, this is DLC, and the lack of polish is quite evident in places. Like the original game, the full range from impressive to temp-looking is in full effect. This isn't Gotham in summer though, and much is just inherited from the base game. The in-game cutscenes are really wooden, especially when involving characters in solid ice. Didn't this team learn anything about sprucing up dialogue exchanges from the 'Mass Effect' games?
I think I underrated the original game's Audio simply because it felt so uniform, which isn't such an issue in this short DLC episode. Freeze isn't around to speak very much as Batman is usually one or two steps behind, but when Freeze speaks, it works. Penguin and his thugs are a little played out, but I have to give it to Alfred, his physical bounce back is almost as good as Batman's.
I had high hopes for 'Cold, Cold Heart' when it was announced, but actual DLC is all-too typical, though it seems to be a big improvement when compared with 'Batman: Arkham City's Harley Quinn's Revenge.' Still, it exhibits the same problems as 'Origins,' it promises the first clash between a young Batman and Mr. Freeze, and instead gets hung up on trying to be an openworld game full of uninteresting Penguin thugs. The combat is challenging without being varied, and should have had difficulty options. It's almost a shame that this isn't a cheap standalone game as it might be more fun for those that missed 'Batman: Arkham Origins.' Otherwise, it's really only worth playing for the completionist or for those curious about a second 'Arkham' Mr. Freeze appearance.
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