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Batman: Arkham Origins - Cold, Cold Heart
Score: 70%
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/Adventure

El Niņo, Eat Your Heart Out:

It appears that global warming is, without doubt, an absolute fantasy for the poor folks in Gotham. Why, the Christmas weather was hazardously cold, but now it's New Year's Eve, and there's a hard freeze all over town. Just the perfect weather for this DLC's extremely small rogue's gallery: the Penguin and Mr. Freeze. Specifically, this is the story of the first encounter Batman has with Mr. Freeze.

Yup, that's it. Cold and colder, and of course, a bunch of their underpaid and overconfident henchmen. Why, there's only two main enemies and they're not even working together. How hard could this be?

And It Gets Colder, Still:

Well, while you may only be dealing with Mr. Freeze and the Penguin, the cold is actually cold enough to get to you. Especially now that Mr. Freeze has shared his Cryogenic Freeze Gun with several of his favorite flunkies. You'll have to keep moving to keep warm; if you stop too long while they're shooting you with the freeze gun, you'll freeze solid. Sure, being Batman and all, you can easily shake it off, but if you're not quick about it, the grenade they lob at you when you freeze in place will pack quite a punch. And speaking of punches, those thugs don't wait for you to unfreeze to use you as a punching bag.

Oh, and don't feel bad for Penguin's henchies... they, too, will have Freeze Gunners, since they took the liberty of securing some of the technology Mr. Freeze was relieving Gothcorp of during his attacks. Long story short, any thugs you run into are likely to have one or two among them who are dead set on making you a batcicle. Oh, and you'll also have the normal assortment of knife and gun-toting baddies in the mix, with a few strategically placed snipers for good measure.

Further, when you get to the truly cold areas, you'll start to experience some annoyances, from your vision freezing up to everything being so white that it's difficult to determine your surroundings. The XE (eXtreme Environment) Batsuit helps this a bit, but it's still really, really cold and you have to watch out for Cryogenic gas, or you'll freeze for good.

Heating Things Up:

So, what's a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist to do? Upgrade his tech, of course. Once you get into the thick of things, Alfred will add the finishing touches on your Thermal Batsuit, which gives you an edge. First of all, it will make you a bit less susceptible to the freeze rays. Still try to avoid them, but don't be as nervous about it. Secondly, the gauntlets will heat up, allowing some useful gameplay mechanics, given the cold.

Once you've got the thermal suit, you'll be able to thaw out frozen victims (which are collectibles in this DLC), break small walls of ice (such as frozen vents and hallways) and even heat up Batarangs to de-ice control panels and survey spots from a distance.

A Wintry Mix:

I like Mr. Freeze and really like the Penguin, but overall, this DLC leaves me in the cold. With the exception of the freeze ray and the warming functionality, there just doesn't seem to be much new added. Further, the map is much smaller than Arkham Origins, even though this is DLC for that game. Also, it's awkward that Cold, Cold Heart is a completely separate story sharing nothing more than a Main Menu. The progression is completely separate, even though Cold, Cold Heart occurs after the events in Arkham Origins; When you want to start the game, you now have two options: start the original game or start Cold, Cold Heart.

The other thing offered by Cold, Cold Heart is a glimpse at some new locations: Wayne Manor, replete with a secret door very reminiscent of the 60's television series, Gothcorp, and a nasty little nightclub owned by the Peguin with the imaginative name, "My Alibi."

If you want to go toe-to-toe with Mr. Freeze, you'd probably be better off (re)playing Arkham City, as this encounter is much like the one from that game. I mean, yes, this is their first encounter, which may carry some extra weight for those who are sentimental, and it is intended to introduce Mr. Freeze with his exquisite sadness and character complexity. And, yes, his story is tragic: he only wants to find a way to bring his wife back - but you only get so much disregard for everyone else's safety and then I no longer care about your motivations. Perhaps I'm funny that way.

Unless you love Mr. Freeze and didn't get enough Penguin in the last game and you feel compelled to buy anything "Batman," you may not want to shell out your cold, hard cash for this one.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 The Wolf Among Us: Episode 4 - In Sheep's Clothing Microsoft Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Ghosts - Invasion

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