I was a bit stuck when it came to writing this little ramble about The Bureau, it’s a half decent game for sure but it feels quite insubstantial and by the numbers (it being a 3rd person shooter, of which there are a million of in the stores) that you have a hell of a time just trying to pick out the things that stand out.
……. Ah I might aswell start with the setting of the game, its set in the 60s so to begin with your constrained by the boring weapons of the age, at the very least until you start to pick up the alien weaponry which is your standard XCOM fare. The laser/plasma rifles/SMG’s etc, basically none of the toys the game gives you are much fun to use, and when half of your gameplay mechanic is as fun as eating a bowl of porridge then things are not looking too good.
So what about the abilities you can use? The “powers” if you will, that are available to your agents. They raise the fun meter a little bit, but they do get repetitive because you’ll find your favourite combination of powers and then you’ll rarely use anything else. My main example is where you can use your own power to lift an enemy and then get one of your team to use a critical hit on the now defenceless opposition. It deals a ton of damage so you’ll go back to it again and again, the tactic works nearly every time no matter what the enemy (except perhaps the giant Mutons or Sectopods).
….. So, we’ve established the combat is drab, what about the story? This was meant to be the game that established how the XCOM project got established (There were previous XCOM games available on the pc although these were strategy games and most definitely NOT shooters).
It might have just been my inability to work out the details, but as far as i could tell an alien race invades earth, humans being completely outmatched technologically and by sheer weight of numbers. So what is our response to this alien menace? Guerrila warfare, being based in the XCOM….. Base, you undertake operations that do…. Stuff. Ok i started to lose my focus, my biggest reason for that is that the passage of time between events and their impact on the story seemed totally illogical it defied belief.
Why is that I hear you ask?
Well there is an instance where you do a few side missions and you decide to take on some main campaign missions too, then blink…… Congratulations you are now ready to travel to the alien home world and kill the leader….. What? Just like that? Then barring another hour or two, Congratulations! You’ve beaten the game!
For an XCOM game it’s just too damn short, and as a story its like the meat of it got cut and all we got left with was the cliff notes. This would seriously work better as a tv show than a game, at least there you might have the time to fully flesh out the ideas they had, rather than cobbling together scraps into somewhat of a coherent story. Perhaps the whole thing was rushed and they simply couldn’t put the game they wanted together in time before they had to release it.
At least with a tv show they might have the luxury of better casting because the cast in the game are a bunch of stereotypes, you play the gruff tortured but brilliant soldier/agent working for a paranoid director, the tough girl and get this, a german scientist with added comedy accent, ugh….
Final thought about it? Bland Grey Sludge, I wanted to like this game but it’s critically lacking in that hook, that spark that captures your imagination.
disappointing, only go near if you can get it on the cheap!
Or! Get XCOM Enemy Unknown a much better game!
Anyway, thanks for reading 🙂