The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
Released : Aug. 20th, 2013
Publisher : 2k Games
Developer : 2k Games
Systems Released On : Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
System Reviewed On : Xbox 360
Taking the XCOM franchise in a new direction away from the extremely popular RTS to a squad based third person shooting with mild RTS elements was a bold move. Too bad it was a bold move that in the end didn’t go as planned.
The story is about as boring as it can get while making little to no sense at the same time. You play Carter who after have a having a alien encounter and gaining magical powers are drafted into the agency. From there you are sent to recruit a team, do missions, and generally save the world. Carter himself has a cliche story but isn’t likeable and your team members are liked even less. Not a lot of effort was put into making them likeable. While pushing the story forward they try throwing in twists towards the end along with constant dialog trees between missions but by the time they are happening you have already realized that the story is making no sense, your choices don’t have a long lasting effect, and that characters will change their mind about serious matters over the course of a few sentences if that. The makers tried throwing a bunch of ideas in that they saw work for stories in other games but they left out the reasons that those ideas worked.
Graphically though the game does look very nice. Character models are detailed and the aliens look great even after becoming very repetitive. The environments however are bland and sometimes overwhelming. Trying to go from a city in the 1950’s to a high end alien ship can be a drastic step to make and in the end both areas start to feel like connected areas of enemies wave. The alien ships though mainly feel like connected rooms where many of them are empty.
The game play tries to mix the RTS squad command and third person shooter mix that the Mass Effect series has done so well but falls short in both departments for this game. The AI will often overpower you until you and your squad level up. So prepare to get knocked down a lot then try to get your team to pick you up without them dying. Once you do get leveled up though it becomes a cake walk. Don’t look for your team to do much though as they generally useless for other than being a diversion with a few good powers to use. It turns into a cover based shooter for you where you just kill swarms of enemies.
Overall it falls into the super generic area of shooters. A bland nonsense story mixed with extremely generic game play. If you want to try a XCOM game try XCOM Enemy Unknown because I hear its a whole lot better.