For many people who don’t know, the XCOM series has been around since the year 1994 in which it had gained critical acclaim as a Strategy franchise from MicroProse until 2001 in which the series started to take a turn for the worse with 2 planned games in the series being cancelled. In 2006, 2K Games bought the rights to the series and in 2010 revealed their plans to reboot the series with a tactical first person shooter titled XCOM. Unfortunately the game was met with numerous delays until eventually the game was being built again from the ground up as a tactical third person action shooter. With the new gameplay style also came a new name which was officially revealed to be The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Well after a 3 year delay and numerous changes, The Bureau has arrived and here is my review.
The main thing I will start with is the Story. So the story starts with you taking on the role of CIA man, William Carter who is delivering a briefcase to his employer. With no knowledge of what is actually in the case; he is attacked by a being of as of yet unknown origin and left barely alive. Soon after escaping he finds out the earth is under invasion from alien lifeforms and decides to join humanity’s last stand by joining the extremely secret and mysterious organization, XCOM led by Director Myron Faulke. The story doesn’t fail to capture the emotions of the survivors who are scared that it may be the end of the world and also has enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Next thing I will discuss is the Gameplay which to me was very similar to the gameplay of the Mass Effect series which is a really good thing as it blends in the action and suspense very well while also giving the player the option to use tactics to their advantage to attack the enemy unexpectedly. The game also tends to borrow other features from different games such as the Recon Missions to send Agents off to different parts of the USA to get experience for themselves and net you some special items similar to the Assassin Missions from the Assassin’s Creed Spin-offs and as previously mentioned, Mass Effect as you can collect schematics for backpacks which give you and your squadmates boosts in the powers such as faster recharge times. You may also run a few errands around the secret underground facility, Whether it be hunting down aliens or helping the infected.
As far as graphics are concerned, they could have been slightly improved as the graphics are not quite as up to scratch as they could have been however this is from 2K Games who to be fair have many games like BioShock & Borderlands under their belt that use unrealistic graphics which makes the game just as good and while they could have looked a little more realistic, This graphic style works with XCOM as it has the many great games from 2K. In addition, There were a few slight problems when it came to the dialogue as there were some instances in which the characters went out of sync but these moments quickly resolve themselves so you can continue your adventure into the unknown. These are the only real problems with the game however and shouldn’t distract your gameplay.
All in all, The Bureau is still a fantastic game and has enough plot twists and tense moments to keep you on the edge of your seat and from start to finish is a very enjoyable story. In fact I actually think it is kind of unfair to The Bureau: XCOM Declassified that it was released the same week as titles such as Splinter Cell Blacklist & Saints Row IV as it means the game will probably go unnoticed unless you are a huge XCOM fan which to be fair this game doesn’t deserve. My personal opinion, This game needs to be played by any gamer out there and should definitely be picked up if you are a huge fan of Mass Effect or if you are an XCOM fan who wants a different style of gameplay.
My Rating – 9.4/10
- Excellent Storyline
- Great Plot Twists
- Very Tactical Gameplay
- Great Choice of Weapons
- Recon Missions are Helpful
- Mini Quests and Optional Objectives are fun
- Amazing Action
- Graphics aren’t up to scratch
- Sometimes goes out of sync
- Released on a week with huge releases
Review by Matthew McNamee