Cold, Cold Heart & Arkham Origins Season Pass Review

This week we saw the release of the final piece of DLC for WB Games Batman Arkham Origins- Cold, Cold Heart, which shows us the introduction of icy villain Mr. Freeze.

The season pass to Arkham Origins has had several pieces of content available for download since its launch last year and Cold, Cold Heart is by far the piece that fans have really been waiting for.

batman cold cold heart 1

Since our review of Arkham Origins last year, much has happened in the Arkhamverse of Batman. With the announcement of Arkham Knight and Assault on Arkham – a new DC Animated Original movie set between Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum. The season pass has since released several skin packs to use during Arkham Origins and we have also seen the release of Initiation – a story explaining how Bruce Wayne trained in the mountains before returning to Gotham to wage his one man war on crime.

Although this sounds exciting, Initiation is essentially a series of cut scenes that bridge the gaps between ”trials,” which are simply challenge maps. This may seem a little disappointing, but it is fun to play as Bruce Wayne without his full arsenal of gear and yet still be more than a match for the onslaught of ninjas, which will charge you during combat trials. You are also able to outsmart your enemy in the unusual surroundings of the mountain temple in the invisible predator trials.

batman initiation 1The cut scenes try to give reason to the challenges set before you, as your master explains that if Bruce seeks to be one of them then he must adapt to the danger which awaits and the penalty for failure is death. Your enemies try to goad you on by telling you that you do not belong among them and are not worthy of their masters teachings, which of course helps to satisfy you once the challenge is completed.

But all of this will not hide the fact these are just new challenge maps and a new character to play as, rather than new story content. Those that either buy Initiation or purchased the Season Pass with high hopes for this new mode, may be disappointed if the challenge maps are not your thing.

Cold, Cold Heart is set a week after the events of Arkham Origins. The story opens up at Wayne Manor on New Years Eve as he hosts the humanitarian awards for Gotham. During the proceedings, Mr. Freeze makes his cold entrance and Wayne Manor is seized by his men.

As Bruce you must make your way through Wayne Manor towards the Batcave and become Batman to fight off the invading force, to have any hope of stopping Mr. Freeze. As you do so you will encounter a new challenge. This time enemies are equipped with a cryo backpack and freeze ray gun, which when focused upon you for a couple of seconds will freeze you on the spot, leaving you open for a punch to your exposed face.

The new enemy can be a tricky one and if they open fire on you while you are in the middle of smacking someones taste out of their mouth, the opportunity to evade the threat can disappear within the blink of an eye. Your combo meter is lost and you are left tapping your controller to break free from your icy shackles.

The story eventually moves you back out in to Gotham and although you do not have free rein to explore the city in its entirety, you have enough to be getting on with.

batman cold cold heart 2Cold, Cold Heart introduces three new side quests for you to focus some time on and keep you busy. These quests take the shape of 12 more Anarky Tags hidden around the city for you to find and scan. There are also 4 Anarky riots for you to disrupt, which will have you breaking up mobs and disarming bombs against the clock. The other comes in the form of frozen citizens – police officers, security guards and civilians that are around the city or within mission areas, that can be broken free using the new XE Batsuit.

The XE suit is deployed to you amidst battle and is an armoured suit, which emits heat and gives you the ability to equip thermal batarangs to destroy frozen items such as switches and frozen vantage points that would normally be impossible to climb to. Thermal batarangs can also be used to knock down large stalagmites, which can take out multiple enemies that linger beneath it. This is both seriously cool and extremely satisfying.

Detective mode comes in to use once again and one particular piece will have you captivated to the screen as you reconstruct a scene, which will show Paul Dini’s ability to recreate a character that is still relevant and leaves a lasting impression 20 years later.

Cold, Cold Heart’s downfall sadly is in its presentation and in its game mechanics, which is through no fault of the DLC directly, but more to do with parent title itself – Arkham Origins.

Although I do return occasionally to play through its challenge maps, I have not ventured through any form of Campaign for quite some time. Playing through Cold, Cold Heart showed me just how quickly the main game has dated, which I find surprising considering how Arkham City has managed to stay looking so polished and its gameplay mechanics so fluid and utterly flawless.

One thing I did notice however,  which I can’t say I noticed during the main campaign, is some pretty dubious facial animation on characters as they speak during in game cut scenes. Anyone playing Cold, Cold Heart will be aware of some scenes in particular, which will make you recoil and probably lose concentration on the conversation taking place.

batman cold cold heart 4To round things up I suppose the obvious question is: Is the Arkham Origins Season Pass worth buying?

Well you get plenty of content for your money with some great new challenge maps. Initiation manages to put some great new twists on the challenge map format with an interlocking story between maps. Another bonus for those that bought the game pre-owned is, if you purchased the season pass you will be able to download Deathstroke as a playable character, who is definitely a great addition to the challenge maps.

However, the majority of the content  is challenge maps, as well as multiplayer content such as weapons and items. You may be unwilling to part with your money if both of these game modes don’t appeal to you. New downloadable skins are a nice touch but are nothing more than a cosmetic and don’t quite live up to some of the skins available in Arkham City, such as the Batman Beyond or Animated Series skins.

Cold, Cold Heart is undoubtedly the highlight of the Season Pass. In the grand scheme of things, this DLC alone is worth playing, if just to see one of Batman’s greatest villains origins be retold once more. Cold, Cold Heart should leave any Arkham fan feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

batman season pass Verdict

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