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article imageReview: 'The Bureau: XCOM Declassified' fails to tell a forgotten history Special

By Stan Rezaee     Aug 29, 2013 in Entertainment
What horrifying event happened that led to the establishment of the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit (aka X-COM)? That is what 'The Bureau: XCOM Declassified' was supposed to answer, but instead you're left with more questions than answers.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified was originally proposed as a first-person shooter (FPS) before redesigned as a squad-based strategy game that keeps the gameplay elements of the X-COM series.
Set in the backdrops of the Cold War, circa 1960s, players take the role of William Carter, an agent of the Bureau of Strategic Emergency Command, who is tasked with leading a squad to investigate, fight and cover up extraterrestrial threats in America.
Unfortunately, the game is to the X-COM series what Prometheus is to the Alien-series. You're left with more puzzling questions than answers and unfortunately The Bureau doesn't have the luxury of being the fist X-COM released in a decade.
On the surface it looks like a 1960s-style science fiction thriller with the gritty tone of the X-Files. The tension for such a story had been building with a series of webisodes that chronicles the actions of the Bureau in response to an extraterrestrial encounter. Instead, gamers get a story that pretends to be edgy and thrilling but deep inside is just bland.
The gameplay mechanism has also taken a major hit by taking away the elements that were core the aspect of X-COM. This would have been forgivable had this been a FPS-game but instead your playing a squad based strategy game pretending to be X-COM.
Without the X-COM elements; it just becomes a simple bland shooter that requires no strategy beyond "when to duck" and "when to shoot." The simplicity of the gameplay can be attributed to the development team's desire to appeal to a broader audience. The problem is that casual gamers are to young to know what X-COM is and old school fans will just be irritated at a game pretending to be X-COM.
It's only redemption comes in the setting design that captures the spirit of 1960s America. Players will appreciate the attention to details of their environment along with the players use of retro technology. Adding to the artwork is the magnificent musical score that complements the setting.
At best The Bureau: XCOM Declassified may be good for a weekend rental for someone wanting to play something new, however Splinter Call: Blacklist and Saints Row IV came out at the same time and are actually more worth your time. If the game still sparks one's interest then its better to wait for the next Steam Sale.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified tried to continue the legacy of the series but fails to live up to the standards set by XCOM: Enemy Unknown. On the bright side it's not such a disaster that it will kill the series for another decade.
Final Score: 3/5
More about The Bureau XCOM Declassified, XCOM, Video games, UFO
 
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