Review: Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart DLC (PC)

20140424_cch1DLC season passes are a touchy subject. I’m not really a fan of DLC in general, particularly the locked-on-disc variety, or finished content that has been held back to be sold later. While I fully understand that development costs are high, the trend that started last generation of nickel and diming consumers to squeeze out upfront profits is one that just doesn’t sit well with me. Despite all this, I recently purchased the Arkham Origins season pass for $5, and while its other offerings have been forgettable, Cold, Cold Heart redeems it as an example of good, story-driven DLC that makes the purchase worth it.

I happened to like Arkham Origins, awarding it an A- in my review, but one of the standout characters from the earlier games was Mr. Freeze. I didn’t know much about him prior to Arkham City, but he was such an interesting, tragic, and charismatic player. After experiencing his story, I definitely wanted to learn more about him. Hearing that Cold, Cold Heart would focus on Mr. Freeze was exciting news, and I wasted no time hopping back into the Batsuit.

20140424_cch3From the very beginning, I was enjoying this. While it provides the familiar world of Origins to explore (albeit smaller), you get a genuine sense that WB Games Montreal took their time to create some nice, new interiors. They also ensured that the outside world itself stayed consistent with the storyline. It looks great, with subtle changes that fans of Origins will appreciate.

There’s a new addition to the existing enemy types, as well as tweaks to and new functionality for Batman’s array of gadgets. My favorite new device by far is the Thermal Gloves. They address one of my pet peeves of this series, allowing the removal of wall grates by just holding down the A button instead of hitting it repeatedly. It’s a small change that I hope carries over to Arkham Knight because it’s quick, painless, and eliminates an unnecessary game mechanic that got very annoying for me over the course of three games.

20140424_cch2There are several sets of collectibles, similar to the ones found in Origins, and these unlock additional abilities for Batman. I liked that certain ones were relatively easy to locate and marked on your map automatically for later retrieval, but some still require thorough exploration. This helps extend the life of the DLC for completionists who want to get everything, but they mostly feel like busywork, like they did in Origins.

In terms of length, it felt pretty good to me. Not too short and not too long. The story itself has some great moments, with cameos from series regulars thrown in to help mix things up. Most importantly, it provides insight into Mr. Freeze’s backstory, underscoring why he is such a popular and compelling character.

20140424_cch4Finally, the Extreme Environment (XE) Suit is pretty cool. It’s nicely designed, suitably intimidating, and fits well into the context of the story. It looks bulky, but thankfully doesn’t affect Batman’s movement.

I enjoyed my time with Cold, Cold Heart. It’s a nice package that extends the life of Arkham Origins by several hours, focusing on one of my favorite characters of the Batman universe.

Graphics: B+
Audio: A-
Gameplay & Controls: B+
Presentation: B+
Value: B
Overall: B+

PC Notes: Reviewed using an Intel i7-920 CPU (4GHz overclock) and Gigabyte GTX-670 Windforce OC video card (GPU: +126MHz, RAM: +775MHz overclock). Resolution: 2560×1440 @ 60Hz. Graphic settings: Anti-aliasing and DX11 features turned off to maintain 60fps.


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