The XCOM universe is one shrouded in mystery and action, with aliens, robots, and the highest of technologies. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified starts off in the 1960s during the Cold War era. Right off the bat the time era makes me doubt that the technologies in this game could be the same ones from Enemy Unknown. However, it makes me interested in what alternate history 2K Marin may have created.
You start off as William Carter, an FBI agent who had lost everything, even his family, in a house-fire while he was working in the field. The agent’s life quickly becomes filled with booze and a haze of depression. Carter’s last assignment as an FBI agent is to deliver a package to the head of the XCOM division and had almost successfully delivered the package when suddenly the world crumbles around him due to an alien invasion. As you progress through the opening scene you end up at the new XCOM headquarters and get “promoted” to an XCOM agent.
While The Bureau is mainly a third person shooter and a real time strategy, it also has some aspects of an RPG. It has plenty of customization, but not for the main character, whom you will be playing as the entire game. You can customize almost every aspect of the agents you recruit, include their names, color schemes, faces, gender, what class they will be, and what background they had before joining XCOM. There are four classes, each with its own skill tree: commando, engineer, recon, and support. Like the other customizations, you cannot decide what class Carter is, however, his class is special since all of his skills revolve around the squad as a whole. Fellow Agent DaSilva says “knowing everything about someone helps you to feel more attached to them”. However, this does not seem to be the case, as you feel no emotional attachment for the recruits after you waste your time and effort creating and customizing them.
Most of the conversations in this game do not tend to have any important decisions to be made. This is great for people like me who tend to be very indecisive, but horrible for people who like to change the outcome of their game depending on the choices they make throughout the whole game instead of just one or two major choices. There are alternate endings, they just wouldn’t require you to replay the whole game (just load a save) therefore this destroys the game’s re-playability.
Some people might say the graphics and sound are not top of the line since both seem to have some sort of fuzz filter on them. These filters can also be turned off in the options if you do not feel like playing in a 1960’s atmosphere, but I am telling you that it adds a level of enjoyment if you leave the filters turned on. The controls feel surprisingly good for such a unique game with unique controls.
A Gamer’s Opinion:
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified was an interesting mash-up of TPS and RPS with RPG aspects thrown in. The battles and squad managing was fun at first but quickly became stressful when your squad wasn’t attacking since you hadn’t told them to attack. Eventually having to swap to the squad management options every few seconds to change their objectives became a handful, even quite annoying at times when the battles seemed to be dragged out. The game would have been a lot more fun if 2k had included an autopilot switch (that you could switch on/off whenever you would like) that would allow an AI to take over the squads’ actions. If you are ever able to get this game at a discounted price try it out, it is rather unique and at times can be fun.
- Even with the futuristic alien apocalypse happening, you feel like you are in the 1960s.
- Alternate history plots tend to be exciting and sometimes even thought provoking.
- The third person shooter with real time strategy mixed in is an interesting and sometimes fun concept.
- The customization feels dull.
- Battles can quickly become repetitive due to the need to manage your squad.
- No emotional attachment to the characters.
- Conversations are, for the most part, very boring.