Consider this the last gasp of the old multiplayer model then. It's a fine swansong, especially when played on the most powerful platforms, and in particular if you treat the campaign as a free bonus feature. It's hard not to wonder just what DICE will be able to do when it no longer has to hobble its designs to suit ageing hardware, though.
Ghosts, in and of itself, is a fine game. It ticks all the boxes and then blows the boxes up in glorious 1080p resolution (on PS4 at least). Those who only ever play COD will be more than happy with it, but those who have grown weary of the series will see more of their ambivalence justified this time around. Infinity Ward had a chance here to throw down the gauntlet for the next hardware generation, to set the new standard, to show that this hugely popular, much derided behemoth can dance to a different tune. It's chosen to play a Greatest Hits package instead.
Enemy Within is an improvement on an already excellent game. For every decision that must be made there are several factors to consider, rarely enough money to pay for everything, and uncomfortable consequences to be faced for failure. All of this is exacerbated still further when playing on Classic difficulty or with Ironman mode enabled, where you're constantly worrying about what to do next or second guessing the action that you've just taken. Much like the genetic modifications that it champions, XCOM: Enemy Within is an experience that gets under your skin.
And, of course, it takes us back to Rapture, one of gaming's most compelling spaces, where we can draw expansive parallels between its present and its past and feel clever for connecting the dots. How heavily invested you are in Irrational's artistry will ultimately determine how much you get out of this slender expansion.
I got along a lot better with Cities of Tomorrow than I did with SimCity. I've watched the finely-sculpted skyscrapers become sundials for the city, while the streets they've stood watch over have filled with robot firefighters and automated garbage vans. But I've also been called away from my mayoral duties by police officers complaining about non-existent crime, by reports of full classrooms from empty schools, by a transport advisor who said my streetcars were lost. Every time I've reached for the future, it's brought me back to the present. Just as I was having fun.
Ultimately, the whole thing is depressing more often than it's annoying. Twisted Pixel's lineage suggests that LocoCycle is made by talented and creative designers who had a handful of potentially entertaining ideas to play with. The implementation is rushed and slipshod, however, ignoring fundamental problems and expending limited energy on the wrong things. What you're getting for your money feels a little like somebody else's office in-joke: you can sense the well-intentioned laughter, but you can't really join in.