Throughout Arkham Origins it was clear that Warner Bros. Montreal were set on providing in-depth back stories to some of our all-time-favourite Batman villains; with its extra story content it’s no different.
Cold, Cold Heart revisits the origins of Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze) and chronicles Batman’s first encounter with the walking popsicle in the Arkham universe. Overall, the DLC carries a vast amount of its story from the original Batman animated series, with the episode ‘Heart of Ice’ lending many of the same scenarios. Everything from its characters to its conclusion are very similar and I couldn’t help but feel that this could’ve served as the perfect opportunity to explore a different perspective. At least they’ve taken from the best, I guess.
For those of you who have seen ‘Heart of Ice’ I’ll say this; yes the bad guy is the same and yes the situation in which Victor Fries becomes Mr. Freeze is the same too. It didn’t dawn on me until I gathered more background on its contents that I came across their direct comparisons, though rest assured that this is a great way to experience it for the first time, albeit in a slightly altered fashion.
Making a grand entrance, Mr. Freeze interrupts an award ceremony for ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ with CEO of Gothcorp Ferris Boyle standing proud before countless Gothamites. As this is being held at Wayne Manor you quickly head down to the Batcave to suit up. As previously seen in promotional shots you’ll have a new costume to hand in the form of the XE suit (Xtreme Environment suit), but you won’t acquire this until halfway through, so don’t expect to get suited and booted in your glad rags just from the get go.
After escaping the icy mayhem in the main dining hall and making short work of a few thugs in the hallway, you take the advice of Alfred and head down to the Batcave from the wine cellar. Before long, Freeze’s thugs start to set Wayne Manor ablaze, which is rather ironic given their boss’ acute taste for ice. Your mission to stop Freeze directs you to the heart of New Gotham, focusing on that entire area and leaving Old Gotham out of action across the bridge, being closed-off by a huge icy roadblock.
Throughout the story you’re met with a range of different tasks and objectives, whether that’s thawing police officers, tracking down equipment to proceed through an icy blockage or dispersing rooms of thugs one at a time. As expected, you’ll have the option to use stealth tactics via predator sections or facing enemies head-on. Though Freeze has his iconic freezing ray, his hired help also have the equipment, making extra work for those of you who consider yourself an expert in hand-to-hand combat, all-the-while avoiding being turned into a block of ice.
In terms of pacing Cold, Cold Heart picks you up and hardly lets you down. With a driving force you’re forwarded through the story, encountering plot twists along the way and laying down the hot hand of the law – in this case, your XE suit. I gotta say, Batman looks BULKY in his new armour, but as he quickly points out to Alfred’s comment, it’s made with a honeycomb mesh, hence why he can move just as fast as he usually would. Geared up with a bunch of heating utensils – there’s no cooking involved – Batman has the ability to heat up his batarangs, alongside using concentrated heat bursts on frozen grates and, more importantly, the ability to enter sub zero temperatures without hassle. If that wasn’t enough, instead of using electricity when his combo meter is filled, you can now super heat his gloves instead. Ouch.
- + The XE suit
- + Mr. Freeze is a neat fit for Origins’ setting
- + Get to explore more of Wayne Manor
- - Many fans will already know the story
- - Still laden with bugs and slowdown, it’s a shame this isn’t on next-gen