I’ve been a big fan of the XCOM titles and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified provides yet another interesting story with challenging gameplay that is delivered as a third-person shooter that shares elements with Bioshock.
The game is a prequel and puts the player in the shoes of William Carter, an agent with a troubled past who is asked to deliver a mysterious package to his superiors. However, after the delivery of said package goes awry, Carter must join the CIA’s fight against aliens during the early 1960s.
One of the best aspects of the game is that it really does look like something from the 60s, not just due to the lingo, attire of characters and scenario, but even in how the game looks. It reminds me of something NBA 2K12 was doing with how it presented games of different eras. It’s as of the video quality was made to match what one would expect from that time.
Though a third-person shooter, the game relies heavily on strategic combat, as players will need to direct their operatives to flank, attack or to distract, which is all handled by a command wheel that lets you direct individual teammates. Aside from weapons, you can make use of abilities such as being able to make an enemy float in mid-air, making them vulnerable to attack. You can upgrade and unlock abilities and weapons as you progress not just for yourself but also for the other teammates.
The first few times I jumped into the game, I tried getting aggressive with my attacks and found myself getting my ass handed to me rather quickly. Using tactics isn’t just recommended, it’s practically required if you plan on getting anywhere.
In between missions, you’ll walk around the Bureau’s offices as you listen in on conversations, complete side quests and checking in on how things are going. Truth be told, I actually enjoyed the time spent in the office and was a great way to break up the action.
After about 16 hours or so, I finally came to the end of the game, which I could see some considering a bit anticlimactic but capped off a pretty enjoyable game.
Final Score: 4 out of 5