The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has gone through several changes ever since it started development back in 2006. The game was initially set to be a first-person shooter game, but it later shifted to a third-person tactical shooter following several internal changes. Despite the flip flopping of the game’s genre, it somehow managed to release this year after seven years of being in development. The question is, did the various changes help craft a successful follow-up to the reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown?
Let’s check the HOTs and NOTs of our review of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
Compared to the plot found in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, I must say that The Bureau’s story is more engaging and intriguing. Set in the 1960s during the Cold War, the aliens have invaded Earth. With every agency and almost everyone in the United States in ruin, there’s one group of people in the government working underground that specializes in responding to situations like these. The XCOM, also called the Bureau, are this group. As Agent William Carter, you are tasked with helping the Bureau find ways to send the aliens called Mosaic back to where they come from. Sure, the story sounds generic like Enemy Unknown, but the plot that leads to a solid ending. Needless to say, the game has its fair share of twists.
2K Marin did a great job shaping an engaging tale. Since the world that you will go through is in ruins from the invasion of the Mosaics, many players will wonder what life was like before these events. Fortunately, a backstory is present that details every event that occurred in the area via logs and notes. Those who want to get a background story of not only the main characters but the overall setting of the game, reading those archives will help you gain the full picture. As you progress through the story, you will be more familiarized with the sub events and main plot of the game.
Mix of XCOM and Mass Effect Style
As far as gameplay goes, The Bureau is a mix of XCOM and Mass Effect with a slight Bioshock flair. Since The Bureau is developed by 2K Marin, the developer behind the Bioshock games, one of the things that you should expect is a familiar Bioshock vibe. The menus and some of the UI feel as if the developer was inspired by Bioshock as the designs are strikingly similar.
Fans of the Mass Effect games who really enjoyed the shooting elements and the tactical approach will find The Bureau enjoyable as well. Unfortunately, the shooting aspect of the game lacks innovation as it seems that 2K Marine directly took everything from Mass Effect. From the beginning through until the end, you will be bringing two agents to assist you in every fight. Each has their own abilities and when you are engaged in battle, you will have an option to give them commands by bringing a wheel-like menu, just like Mass Effect. In that wheel, you will find the abilities of your agents and orders to give. For the most part, you can let them act on their own, but it’s not really wise to do so as certain parts of the game can be really challenging. Aside from the shooting aspect, another feature that was taken from the Mass Effect series is the dialogue system. Since this game is focused on story, expect to see a lot of dialogue. Whenever talking to a NPC, you will see a dialogue wheel that lets you pick what answers you want to provide. How you respond can change the story, but not in a big way.
When it comes to taking things from the XCOM series, the classic classes of the agents that you will be able to deploy with Carter are back. Similar to Enemy Unknown, classes like Recon, Commando and Engineer make a return. These classes have their own set of abilities that you have to level up in battle. For every enemy that you take down, the two agents that go with Carter gain experience. Every time they level up, aka ranking up in the game, you have an opportunity to make them learn a new ability, which is beneficial to creating a strong team.The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (PS3) Review,