A Freeze Is Coming
By Jonathan Caban
On April 22, Batman: Arkham Origins received new downloadable content called Cold, Cold Heart which expands on the game’s storyline by bringing in classic Batman enemy Mr. Freeze. While Origins took place on Christmas Eve during Batman’s early years as a crime-fighter, Cold Heart takes place several days later on New Year’s Eve. Fans of Batman: The Animated Series might recognize the plot since it is essentially a retelling of the episode “Heart of Ice”.
You start the game by playing as Bruce Wayne and have to fight your way through Wayne Manor to get to the batcave. The fun element here is that as regular Bruce Wayne, you have no weapons or gadgets to aid you when fighting Freeze’s henchmen. There’s even an achievement you can get if you manage to make it to the batcave without sustaining any damage. Once you get into costume, you must track down Mr. Freeze to rescue Wayne’s friend GothCorp CEO, Ferris Boyle.
This new chapter of Origins isn’t as long as the main game. If you decide to play it straight through, it should only take about two hours of gameplay. This is similar to Harley Quinn’s Revenge, the main downloadable content to the previous game Batman: Arkham City. Like Revenge, Cold has the world map cut down by half which means there aren’t as many locations to explore this time around. Also, the glue grenade that was used frequently in Origins has been removed from your inventory. Introduced in this game is Batman’s XE suit, which grants you the ability to melt the many ice structures found around the city.
Just like all the other Arkham games, Cold Heart has several side missions in addition to the main plot. One mission deals with the villain Anarky. Anarky is featured in the main story of Origins and was subsequently defeated. Now, you’ll have to break up riots caused by his followers several times throughout the game. They aren’t that hard and they resemble Anarky’s followers before in Origins. Basically, just beat up the enemies and deactivate the bombs. Anarky’s symbols are once again hidden on buildings throughout the city so, you have to track them down as well. The other side mission has to do with frozen Gotham cops hidden around the city. You can unfreeze them after Batman attains his XE suit.
One of the most annoying aspects of this game, in my opinion, was the introduction of the “Freeze-Ray Thugs”. These enemies have ice guns similar to Mr. Freeze’s and can trap you in ice allowing other enemies to attack. These guys are irritating, and there are several times in the game where you must fight two at once along with other enemies. Maybe a more experienced gamer would have no problem but, I kept dying to the point of nearly trashing my X-Box.
The final boss battle with Mr. Freeze was very underwhelming. You can’t fight him head on. Instead, you have to engage in sneak attacks to wear him down. It was basically the same type of boss battle that you had with him during Arkham City, except with additional goons thrown in to annoy you.
Despite these downsides, this extension of the story was fun. Mr. Freeze has always been one of Batman’s more sympathetic villains and this game definitely shows that. His motives are personal and you’ll find out why as the storyline unfolds. Although, if you played Arkham City then you’ll already know what his main objective is.
Rocksteady is releasing the next installment, Batman: Arkham Knight this fall which will bring the Arkham storyline to a close. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll release any more DLCs introducing other villains that weren’t featured in Origins. It would’ve been cool to see others such as Poison Ivy, Victor Zsasz, and even Clayface get DLCs of their first encounters with Batman. I’m looking forward to Arkham Knight and how this storyline will end.