The Bureau – XCOM Declassified – Review
Follow Genre: Third person shooter/Strategy
Developer: 2K Marin
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PC, 360, PS3

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified – Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: Trip down memory lane, Great basics
Bad: Tactical portion has too many rough edges
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a remake of the nineties game with the same name, had a decent moment of glory and is now trying to (once again) expand its franchise. Feel like taking a stroll down memory lane? Especially when it’s filled with conspiracies and a stereotypical sixties environment? The Bureau – XCOM Declassified might satisfy those needs a little.

xc0

Story

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified takes us back to the sixties where stereotypes roam freely and alien invasions are just bound to happen. You, William Carter, a washed up CIA-agent who lost his family in a tragic accident will be the protagonist of the story. Whilst having to deliver an extraterrestrial artifact to the top brass of the United States the world enters a state of chaos. Aliens seem to have invaded the world and will change everything, at least if you can’t prevent all what’s happening.

After saving Faulke, who seems to be the only remaining top member of the United States’ chain of command, you will find yourself leading a squad to fight of the alien invaders. These seem to have more up their sleeves than just exterminating all humans, namely spreading a disease which turns all those who are infected in sleepwalkers, who turn into obedient weak lambs.

The Bureau offers you the environment of an old school detective story with the presence of powerful alien invaders. At first, the stereotypical behavior of Carter might be a little too overwhelming and unrealistic, but after getting warmed up to this troubled hero-to-be, the game tends to draw you in. XCOM Declassified might bombard you with a standard alien invasion storyline the game will add a few twists that will keep you motivated.

xc1

Graphics

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified will present you with a decent array of nice looking areas and a cast that suits a godfather movie. Sadly as a whole the game might feel like a step back compared to many of the recently released titles for the current generation of consoles. There are hardly any intractable object in the world outside of ammo and weapons or an occasional door, which will make you lose your interest a lot quicker than most games. Also while you have access to a ‘decent’ arsenal of weapons these will never be able to destroy parts of your environments. Explosions will pretty much do nothing and for some reason the world spawns a lot of walls with bulletproof windows which make you wonder as if it were the developers’ their intention.

Sound

A soundtrack that not that many games tend to offer, is a great remark to start off with. XCOM Declassified does its best to combine sturdy gameplay with an array of great tracks that will get you in the mood to save our planet from the peril it’s currently in. It’s rare that a game has loads of suspense themes crammed in to one mission that will create a tension every time you encounter a new dangerous event.

Whilst the voice overs in the game might be a tad overacted at times they will contribute a lot to the game’s atmosphere. William Carter is already enough to drag you back to the sixties and give you the typical detective gone rogue mood.

xc3

Gameplay

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified is in essence a third-person shooter with some tactical options added to the mix. This is a lot different compared to the typical XCOM games, which are turn-based strategy games. The developers tried to create a spin-off that would appeal those who are a fan of both genres and does its best to create such a game. Sadly not all functions feel as if they were truly finished upon release.

Roaming around in third-person feels like pretty much every other game in the genre, with a decent amount of weaponry and ammo spread around the map. This will feel like a typical shooter and a solid frame for the other aspects of the game. Sadly the tactical aspect of the game will feel as if it’s a tad too basic if you’re a fan of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the game that offered a great strategical experience. You will be able to slow down time when entering the tactical mode in which you can give each of your party member orders. These are basically these 3 orders: Move, attack and the usage of their skill sets. Because the game is not really turn-based you will often forget issuing orders and let your agents do their own bidding. Sadly they won’t use their skills and they will simply be grunts who fire at random targets. When you do decide of ordering your squad around, moving them around will not feel all too smooth and aiming at targets who stand next to each other tends to be tricky from time to time as well. These few basic things that have a lot of mishaps tend to ruin the flow of your combined tactical shooting experience. Whilst it’s a fun initiative that works for the most part, it would have been so much better if some smooth edges would have been polished.

xc4

Your squad will consist out of three members, namely you and two soldiers of your picking. These soldiers can be one of four classes which are in essence a sniper, a support member, a commando and an engineer. All of these pretty much speak for themselves. In turn these squad members can be leveled up to level five and are able to pick one skill each level. At certain times you will have to choose the skill that suits your playstyle and in turn you will cross out the other choice. You, William Carter are able to level up until level ten and are a class on your own. You will be able to summon several of the invaders’ minions and tweak these to your liking.

Whilst the amount of weapons are decent in XCOM Declassified, they tend to feel bland seeing all of these are simply found when defeating your foes. The Bureau will not have any real research options like other games in the franchise which might end up disappointing some fans of the previous title(s). A fun attribution, however, is the ability to equip different types of ‘backpacks’ who will grant different kind of perks, like damage reduction, increased skill range and so on. In the end all of these perks will roughly be the same, you’ll still be able to switch between fancy backpacks.

Conclusion

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified is a decent attribution to the XCOM world and might be the start of a new set of games in the series, that aren’t complete tactical games. Sadly with the rough edges it currently has, the game might not get the attention it deserves. Nonetheless, The Bureau will satisfy the needs of those wanting to struggle for Earth’s survival in this very own war of the worlds.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
The Bureau - XCOM Declassified - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | XCOM: Enemy Within gameplay
    September 9, 2013, 4:45 am

    […] for me The Bureau didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations many of us had for the newly revived […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
    Yes
    No

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.