The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

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a game by 2K Marin
Platforms: XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3
Editor Rating: 5.5/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown
User Rating: 6.8/10 - 5 votes
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See also: X-COM Series, Space Games
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Since its announcement in 2006 development for this title has been very convoluted and messy, which perfectly reflects the state of the game in its final release in 2013. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified was born out of creative divergences between 2K Marin and 2K Australia, initially conceptualized to be a first-person shooter that relied on investigative properties, after the fallout between the collaborating devs 2K Marin would go its own way, rebrand the project and release it as The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

The game was supposed to be a reboot, or re-introduction of earlier titles such as XCOM: Enemy Unknown, who found success with critics and fans alike. Regrettably, this game just like its development was all-over-the place. The disagreements and convoluted development shine through delivering a sub-par game that failed to appease the gaming community.

Make Believe

The story follows Agent William Carter, who is tasked with the job to defend humanity against an alien race called “Outsiders”. Agent Carter works for a governmental agency so powerful that it is able to conceal planetary-level invasions from the masses, because it has help from its own future-self. Their mission is to drive the “Outsiders” out of earth and discover their connection to the recently discovered super-element elerium.

Extremely heavy influences from X-Files, Mad Men, and The Day The Earth Stood Still, weren’t enough to salvage the script and dialogue of this game. At times the game seems as confused and lost as players as it tries to move the narrative forward. Sure the game is visually appealing, cutscenes are very nice but that doesn’t cover the fact that it has a very poor storyline. For example players are given dialogue options to navigate the game, but they are completely irrelevant as they all arrive in the same end result. We get glimpses of good writing, and dialogue, but even that is overshadowed by the fact that some reactions are so inhuman, and unnatural that it just pulls you out of immersion.

Unidentified Firing Object

The good news for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is that the cover and shoot aspects of the game work perfectly well. As a tactical shooter it also works well, the user interface is good, using the other two characters that always accompany you is simple, and the possibilities to create traps, ambushes, and gameplans that solve encounters more easily is definitely where the game shines brightest.

The title has a “permadeath” system that completely removes characters once they die in-game, this has little to no impact because you can reload checkpoints at will, and the revival system is just far too generous. This makes the variety of enemies, and boss fights feel less challenging or impactful, even if they are enjoyable and fun, there’s no real consequence to the game.

Summary

As a tactical third-person shooter, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified delivers a satisfactory experience, and that’s it. Combat mechanics are randomly thrown into players without any reason or explanation, the script fails to deliver a compelling story, and while the dialogue has its moments, it never feels above average.

There are other gameplay problems - especially surrounding game design - that are amplified by the unsynced dialogue, exploitable systems and inconsistent motivations. The game feels like a missed opportunity to expand upon what would otherwise be a great shooter, developer 2K Marin just misses the mark with this one.

5

If you like the tactical aspect of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the cover-based style of Gears of War, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has something to offer you in terms of combat and unadulterated fun.

Pros:

  • Cover and Shoot
  • Tactical Aspect
  • Variety of Enemies

Cons:

  • Poor Story
  • Very Exploitable
  • Bland and Generic Weapons
  • Choices Have no Consequence
  • Permadeath Doesn’t Work
  • Easy Even in Hardest Difficulty

Download The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

XBox 360

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 3

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

XBox 360 Screenshots

PC Screenshots

Playstation 3 Screenshots

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