PS3 Review: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Does this live up to the XCOM name?

I must admit, this is my first XCOM game…so I didn’t know what to expect and after the reaction from critics and gamers saying this isn’t a true XCOM game, I found myself torn as to how to approach it…so I decided to have an open mind and judge it just for its gameplay and presentation, what I found was surprising…
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified’s story follows an alien invasion during the Cold War; you play as special agent William Carter in this tactical third person shooter in which you are in the caught up in the aftermath of the invasion, you are also joined by other squad members who you can give orders in combat such as flanking, putting up turrets, cloaking and so on. It’s quite deep and clever since squad members can die so you need to be careful where and when to place them, as well as time your orders.

Even on the easiest difficulty, combat can be tough and brutal at times. If you aren’t careful, you’ll get taken out easily…so brace yourself for that, despite that though I found the game relatively easy apart from a few areas throughout the campaign. The downside to the game is that there’s no co-op or multiplayer of any kind, so after you’re done with the campaign there’s little to come back to…there are some photos and documents scattered through the levels, but since there’s no trophies for finding them there’s little point in doing so unless you’re after more knowledge about the game’s story.
In terms of gameplay, The Bureau is typical of a third person shooter while the tactical side is a nice addition but it all feels average and by the numbers. Visually, the game has some good moments and some not so good ones with framerate and the character models are a mixed bag, but the setting is good overall while the voice-acting is pretty good and the music isn’t too shabby either.

The Verdict

While it may not set the gaming world on fire, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a serviceable shooter with a good tactical gameplay element. It may not please fans of XCOM and it lacks co-op which would have been a great addition, but it’s fun from start to finish and well worth a look.