XCOM is a franchise that has been around for awhile, 1994 to be exact. Which shudders me a bit when I think about it because there are people probably reading this right now who were not even alive at that time. I’m getting old. Anyway, my grey hairs are not the point of this article. Instead let’s get down to the version of XCOM that 2K Games released to us in the year of 2013. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is not your standard 3rd person shooter because while you can just run and gun, you will inevitably die and allow your corpse to be used in various alien probing experiments. Remember, there is always time for lube!
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified comes out after the recent release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a strategy game that could be considered was done to be used in parallel with this version of the game. Originally announced as a first person shooter, 2K decided it was going to change things up a bit and make it 3rd person to stand out from the rest of those FPS titles on the market. Set nicely in the 1960’s when things are all about the Russians and the cold war, you play as Agent Carter with a few issues he is dealing with from his personal life. A bottle of alcohol takes care of that pain nicely and within a minute or two of the game starting, you find out that his personal problems are the least of his worries because he’s got a bullet suddenly piercing his shoulder. After you black out, you find yourself heading down to the XCOM offices and you start to get a feel for what it is going to be like as you move around the world. Move to over, shoot, duck, wash-rinse-repeat. Standard play if you’ve done these before. Not so.
After getting into the secret XCOM office, you end up leading the defense team because, you know, you find out you are kind of a badass. You can’t rock a sweet military sweater in the 1960’s without being awesome with that chiseled chin and relatively awesome I can smoke anywhere I want attitude. Quickly you find out that moving around the world seems a bit clunky though and at times when trying to actually move fast you will end up taking cover when you really didn’t want to. This can be frustrating when it comes to trying to move around a battlefield and you’re taking cover automatically when you don’t mean to do so. As you progress through the game, you will be taking on missions with other agents that you can recruit and build up their experience levels. These missions you do allow you to select agents through a pretty easy to use interface allowing you to choose between various classes of agents. Snipers, soldiers, and engineers that lay out turrets and explosives. As you get into battle, you will need to order your agents around the field and indicate what they should do when it comes to moving them to locations to get out of direct enemy fire, deploy a gadget of destruction, or telling them to revive yourself or a fellow agent. Because if they bleed out, you will no longer get to use them. Thus, don’t throw them out onto the field like they can be replaced because they are dead.
Besides being able to shoot aliens, you will have the ability to move around the base, either for pleasure to look at the nicely generated environment and little bits of details, although over time, you will probably end up just skipping certain portions of the little side missions etc that take place because you will want to get back to playing out in the field and getting tactical. The game has a bit of flaws here and there when it comes to movement and some little graphical glitches, but ultimately, it is a nice game. I just don’t see it becoming something you will invest a whole lot of time in unless you are looking to get all of the tiny bits and pieces of things scattered around the game to view. Since there is no multiplayer, this game is only going to come back into your play view if there ends up being some extra content to download and play through.
3 out of 5 Widows.