Metascore
66

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 45
  2. Negative: 2 out of 45
  1. Aug 27, 2013
    82
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is an interesting hybrid between a traditional third-person shooter and a strategic game, with elements of role-playing game; but the impression is a game crippled by a troubled production. If you are in search of a different action videogame, maybe The Bureau is the game are you searching for.
  2. Aug 28, 2013
    80
    Takes inspiration from Mass Effects, but offers a richer, more tactical combat. Usually there’s a reason for scheduling a game release for the slow summer season, but The Bureau turned out to be a really good game. [CD-Action 10/2013, p.56]
  3. Aug 22, 2013
    80
    It offers a glimpse in the history of XCOM through a tactical third person shooter, without becoming a simple mindless shooter. The Bureau requires a good amount of tactical thinking, which really makes it feel like a true XCOM game. Lack of strategy, however, might make the game less appealing to some XCOM fans, but the majority of players will revel in the tactical gameplay.
  4. Aug 20, 2013
    80
    The Bureau builds up adequately on a lot of ideas taken from XCOM. As a result it is entertaining and generally true to the XCOM canon but its potential is, more often than not, half-expressed.
  5. Aug 20, 2013
    80
    With the plot being one of its most worth highlighting features, The Bureau takes the strategy from XCOM and makes it work within a shooter-based gameplay.
  6. Aug 19, 2013
    80
    Paradoxically, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified feels immediate and inclusive as a strategy game, relying more closely on your rapid-fire commands than the bursts of your rifle. The odd hybrid is far from being fully evolved, but it's well suited to further study.
  7. Sep 18, 2013
    79
    A fun shooter with a tactical edge, but not as strategy focused as other XCOM games. [Nov 2013, p.68]
  8. Aug 20, 2013
    77
    The tactical shootouts are very entertaining.
  9. Aug 21, 2013
    76
    Considering the game’s fraught development history and arguably ill-conceived premise, The Bureau is practically a best-case scenario. It may not be a game that anyone asked for, but perhaps that has, in a way, strengthened the final game, forcing it to reel itself in a bit and focus on being entertaining rather than revamping an old IP. It succeeds admirably as an enjoyable sci-fi shooter, and that’s good enough for us.
  10. Aug 25, 2013
    75
    The Bureau is a good game. I like the fact that it forces teamwork, has a great atmosphere and solid graphics. The aliens tend to attack with various and difficult to kill forces from the beginning - that's good as well. Unfortunately later on the magic kind of disappears - the story becomes silly, fights get easier and the interface irritates more and more. But taking all things into consideration, The Bureau is a solid, well made game. A cool appetizer to all the big games arriving this fall.
  11. Aug 22, 2013
    75
    Developer 2K Marin has put everything into creating the best tactical fights possible. Because of this the third person alien shooter is at its best when taking on enemies in combat. Unfortunately everything else is less refined, but despite this The Bureau is still a great addition to the series.
  12. Aug 20, 2013
    75
    As it winds towards completion, the plot jumps the rails more than once. I lost touch with what was going on, but eventually I was charmed by the pure insanity on display.
  13. Aug 20, 2013
    75
    XCOM Declassified is missing that something more that could make it a third-person shooter you have to play. Right now is just another shooter with an original twist in the gameplay.
  14. Aug 20, 2013
    75
    2K Marin's work is intuitive and fun, but with a little more courage it could've become a game of rare strength. Too bad the developers didn't want to risk all the way, by focusing on limited customization of classes and equipment.
  15. Oct 5, 2013
    73
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified does not deliver. It is not bad, but rather depressingly average. [Sept 2013]
  16. Sep 12, 2013
    73
    OK, so The Bureau is different to what XCOM fans would be used to, but does that make it a bad game? As a squad based shooter, The Bureau is reasonably good.
  17. Sep 25, 2013
    70
    A competent tactical shooter that doesn't push any boundaries and is only peripherally related to XCOM. [Oct 2013, p.96]
  18. Sep 9, 2013
    70
    The Bureau isn’t nearly as good as Enemy Unknown. Muddle through that initial disappointment though, and you’ll discover a fun third-person shooter/strategy hybrid that, while flawed, refreshingly taxes the brain cells and trigger finger in equal measure.
  19. Sep 9, 2013
    70
    XCOM is like a BioShock wannabe. However, its great ambitions have led to its heart attack, and its tedious resuscitation leaves a mark. In the end, it woke up as a totally different game with the entirely new title. Well, the most important thing is that the game works, it entertains, it's looking good, and it runs like a wind. In short, the well-made tactical shooter.
  20. 70
    All in all I believe if you pick up The Bureau I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Unless you still think it’s an investigative ‘50s-set FPS. Or a proper strategy game. Then you might be.
  21. Aug 29, 2013
    70
    With better polish and an add genius touch, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified could have been a great game. But for now, it's old technique, it's bugs and numerous incoherencies don't let this game into the hall of fame of videogames. Happily, the worthy gameplay, the 60's ambiance and the XCOM universe are here to salvage the game. The mix between action and strategy works well, and the choice in dialogues brings a cool RPG touch. In the end we go through missions with quite an enjoyment in spite of all this, and we don't leave the bureau that easily.
  22. Aug 27, 2013
    70
    Not your average XCOM, but more of an "XCOM take on the Mass Effect recipe". Still, it's an enjoyable game with a nicely written story.
  23. Aug 19, 2013
    70
    2K Marin has done their best with the almost impossible task to create a narrative rich, tactic driven TPS that justifies the name of "XCOM". The result is a decent and professional effort from a team that could have done better without being tied to that name.
  24. Aug 19, 2013
    70
    The underutilized XCOM base is an appropriate metaphor for The Bureau itself. Limitless possibilities for intrigue, tactics, mystery and terror appear to be on offer. But The Bureau keeps most of it to itself, leaving only scraps and the grunt work of killing aliens.
  25. Sep 1, 2013
    68
    Third-person shooter fans will find some fun, and XCOM fans that don’t mind some real-time action can get their fill as well. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary or mind blowing when playing it.
  26. Aug 26, 2013
    65
    A mediocre cover-based shooter combined with a mediocre turn-based tactics experience that is peppered with RPG seasoning, and the whole is lesser than the sum of its parts.
  27. Aug 28, 2013
    63
    The storytelling keeps you interested but neither the shooter nor the tactical elements live up to their potential.
  28. Aug 28, 2013
    62
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified feels confused and half-finished, a hollow but beautiful slog through XCOM’s early years.
  29. Aug 26, 2013
    61
    It’s a pity that this once high-concept project devolved into a mindless imitation of Mass Effect.
  30. Nov 6, 2013
    60
    For all that The Bureau get’s wrong, it is at least a passable tactical shooter with a novel, well-realised setting. If you love the golden age of science-fiction, there’s something here for you. Just don’t expect it to ever get truly interesting, because XCOM Declassified never captures what XCOM is all about.
  31. Sep 23, 2013
    60
    Wasted potential. [Issue#139, p.98]
  32. 60
    A solid tactical action game of the third person perspective that lacks miscellaneous content and sturdy narrative along with its mission design. The beginning and the end are excellent, but the in-between part is lame. [Issue#233]
  33. Sep 1, 2013
    60
    Like the redacted CIA documents featured so heavily in the game’s marketing, The Bureau comes across as disjointed, baffling and inconsistent. But moments of clarity may well keep you interested in what lies beneath that faltering surface.
  34. Aug 23, 2013
    60
    Maybe if it had scaled back the scope of its X-Files-meets-the era of Mad Men concept, focusing on the earliest incursions of the massive conflict brought to bear in Enemy Unknown, it might have helped rein in some of the crazier, stupider, and more aggressively junky portions of the game.
  35. Aug 23, 2013
    60
    The horrible voice acting, the bad controls and the mediocre level design prevents The Bureau: Xcom Declassified from reaching full potential.
  36. Aug 21, 2013
    60
    All in all, it's just the shadow of a bigger, more ambitious game and proof that it's not always sensible to listen to that angry mob on the internet. Sometimes you just have to stay the course, weather the storm and trust that your vision was right all along. Otherwise you end with something that – solid as it may be – is missing consistency, direction and identity. It's just a shame that it had to happen to this one.
  37. Aug 20, 2013
    60
    It’s a slick slice of B-movie alien blasting, in short, but we’re glad it’s standing alongside a more authentic take on XCOM rather than wearing its visage but not quite acting the same.
  38. Aug 19, 2013
    60
    Most of the pieces for an interesting, compelling experience are there, but they simply never come together to create a memorable affair.
  39. Aug 19, 2013
    60
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified mirrors but never masters. When it gets down to the shallow shooting, it fares well, equipping you with some fun futuristic weapons and letting you go to town on nasty intergalactic intruders. But the game gets in its own way, stumbling when it seeks to siphon strategy mechanics into a formula that doesn't support them.
  40. Aug 19, 2013
    55
    Don't call this XCOM. While its tactical combat works well enough to prevent The Bureau: XCOM Declassified from being straight-up bad, everything else is fumbled so often and so bizarrely that I can’t recommend it.
  41. Sep 10, 2013
    50
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified aptly illustrates my view of the XCOM series, as a whole. All of it sounds fun on paper (Mass Effect-style combat in a 1960s setting) but the execution falls flat. Whereas Enemy Unknown was simply overrated, but still solid for a single playthrough, The Bureau was a struggle to even finish. Every conversation was painful, every trip through the home base felt pointless and every combat mission left me screaming at my teammates’ incapacitated bodies.
  42. Aug 31, 2013
    50
    There’s a good game here and it’s certainly the contemporary title 2K was looking for, but it’s Firaxis’ “outdated” effort that comes out on top if you want a modern taste of XCOM.
  43. Aug 23, 2013
    50
    Overall, TBXD makes a reasonable shooter with some quite clever tactical stuff thrown in. The interface for Combat Focus is great; the combat itself grows stale quickly and the squad never feels as cohesive and essential as it did previously. It’s almost as if the game was scrapped halfway through and then rushed through production.
  44. Aug 28, 2013
    45
    All I got out of The Bureau was stress on the battlefield and boredom in the base.
  45. Aug 19, 2013
    45
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified desperately wants to be liked, but by failing to satisfy in any direction, all it succeeds in being is a disappointment. It wants to be a strategy game without being a strategy game, it wants to be a shooter without being a shooter, and it wants to be XCOM without being XCOM. As such, it is nothing. It's an inconsequential waste of time that does nothing for anybody, and saying that makes me feel guilty because its cloying pleas to not be hated are worthy of pity.
User Score
6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 520 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 78 out of 148
  2. Negative: 35 out of 148
  1. Aug 20, 2013
    10
    I REAALLYY thought this would just be another shooter but they implemented X-COM's style of strategy so well it actually feels like 3rd person RTS xcom, I dont care about the unsatisfied destructoid review I don't see why in the world he would like how it isnt a shooter or a strategy or an xcom game BECAUSE ITS ALL OF THOSE COMBINED, and that's much more awesome than it sounds

    GamePlay: 9/10
    Story: 8/10
    visuals: 7/10
    Replayabilty: 10/10

    P.S: anyone going into this expecting a carbon copy of XCOM enemy unknown or UFO defense's gameplay is an idiot
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2013
    8
    I'm seeing a lot of moaning that this isn't XCOM, and maybe the dev's should have just dropped the name because it seems more like fanboy rage, then actual constructive criticism of essential a pretty good 3rd person shooter.

    The development has been marred with problems, mainly I believe to fanboy outrage to initial screens of the game. I was actually looking forward to a First person, investigation game. Then the game went dark, but eventually came back to life, in what seemed to be a mash up between Mass Effect and some XCOM elements.

    I love the XCOM series, do I care that this game has XCOM in the title? No. I take games on face value, and not what I expect the game should be. In fact, I don't go into any games with expectations why would you? Why not be surprised, which I am about this game.

    It didn't take long before I started getting the knack for the controls and ordering my men around it all seemed to work well, and I was killing aliens left, right and centre. The AI, seems intuitive enough to get the job done on both sides.

    I love the setting, and the story isn't as convoluted as some have suggested. The game isn't perfect by any means. There have been some hiccups with stuttering, and slow downs but the steam community is on the ball. Hopefully updated video drivers and possible game tweaking will solve most of these issues which we should all be reminded happens even to the best of games.

    I do feel the game is a little barron in respects to environments and ambient objects within the world. It kinda feels like a lost opportunity, but I also wonder whether it was a design decision to have more of a clean sterile look to most environments?

    Overall this is a solid title, not great, but definitely not worth the scores that it's getting. This game is easily a low mid 8. I paid $36.00 for this game through a site, with some discounts, if you can't get 36 dollars worth of value from this game, then you are doing something VERY wrong.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 20, 2013
    2
    This shooter is in no way related to the XCOM series. It's extremely uninspired, devoid of substance or meaning. The trailers tried to sell something that seemed history-driven but the final product is, from start to finish, just a series of over-the-top explosions, random shooting and NPC babysitting.
    Avoid it like the plague if you don't love bland shooters; buy it if you love CoD or BF.

    (and yes: this game would get a 7 from me if not for the XCOM "bait" on the title.)
    Full Review »