The Bureau: XCOM Declassified PlayStation 3

User Score
6.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 77
  2. Negative: 14 out of 77
Buy On

Review this game

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Apr 29, 2016
    6
    The Bureau is an interesting spin-off for the Xcom franchise, famously known in the strategic gender, let's see how it went.

    Technically you can see right away that the game has been put through "development limbo" (a lot of long delays) with outdated graphics for the time, some framerate issues but fortunately no major bugs. But the main issue on this side is your allies's AI (the
    The Bureau is an interesting spin-off for the Xcom franchise, famously known in the strategic gender, let's see how it went.

    Technically you can see right away that the game has been put through "development limbo" (a lot of long delays) with outdated graphics for the time, some framerate issues but fortunately no major bugs. But the main issue on this side is your allies's AI (the enemy is good) that will force you to micro-managing them all the time which would pass if the game wasn't in real time (even when you give an order it only slows time) if you don't tell them exactly what to do, they're worthless. That will impend the game of acquiring any rhythm.

    Concerning the rest of the gameplay you can clearly see the inspiration from Mass Effect, but not as well done as in Bioware's franchise, the conversation system has only minor consequences, and the gunfights are less intense due to two things : the AI of your allies like mentioned above, and the fact that the game works with some sort of arena system with enemies spawning out of nowhere (well from the sky) and you fight them in waves instead of truly walking through the level.

    The story is interesting with a nice 60's setting but the main character is a real d*ck cliche totally unlovable. The actors are not very good either but the story does its job and you want to see what happens next.

    In conclusion The Bureau isn't a bad game, but it's not good either due to numerous flaws (AI, main character, boring gunfights) without anything out of the ordinary except its setting. Advisable only to those who love stories about an alien invasion over fun gameplay.
    Expand
  2. Mar 6, 2015
    6
    The Bureau made a lot of people mad when it was announced. Taking XCOM, a series known for its turn-based strategy gameplay and turning it into a third person shooter wasn't a smart decision when it came to appealing to its hardcore fan base. Despite games like Fallout 3 succeeding in this regard, the Bureau is just not one of those titles that ends up being what everybody was afraid of.The Bureau made a lot of people mad when it was announced. Taking XCOM, a series known for its turn-based strategy gameplay and turning it into a third person shooter wasn't a smart decision when it came to appealing to its hardcore fan base. Despite games like Fallout 3 succeeding in this regard, the Bureau is just not one of those titles that ends up being what everybody was afraid of.

    The game's plot is simple enough. You are William Carter and you have been recruited into an organization called XCOM as a senior agent, meant to lead your men into battle alongside you to repel the alien threat attacking Earth.

    The gameplay is like a mixture between XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the Mass Effect series. You're able to command both of your men on the battlefield, using a command wheel with a layout very similar to Mass Effect's. This slows down time and you are able to issue commands to your squad, placing them on the battlefield and commanding them from that point. Basic abilities like move and focus work well, but what truly makes each class of ally stand out is the unique abilities. By leveling up your allies in the field, they'll unlock abilities like shields, critical shots, and even turrets, which can all really turn the tide in a heated battle. This is great when written on paper, and could've worked if it weren't for one critical element the developers got wrong.

    The AI in this game is atrocious. While your allies may follow most of your orders competently, leaving them to themselves often causes your whole team to fall apart. Your teammates' overall lack of aggression means they can't take care of themselves when left to their own devices, and it creates so much babysitting and micromanaging for you as a player. This wouldn’t be so bad if your allies’ health and wellness wasn't such a concern, but the gameplay centers around coordinating your team tactically. Without your teammates, it is ridiculously easy to be overrun or killed by the enemy, more so because of the enemies unfair charge tactics rather than just pure punishment. But if that wasn't enough to annoy you, any ally that goes down in the field permanently dies if you don’t revive him in time. Annoying as they are, seasoned soldiers are more formidable than new recruits, so the only real motivation to save them is so that you don't have to deal with someone even weaker. In reality, I could see flashes of how this gameplay would've worked, but the terrible AI completely ruins the formula.

    The game’s only saving grace is the solid shooting/cover mechanics implemented here. Despite the AI’s drawbacks, the core gameplay is ultimately what keeps this game from being boring. The solid shooting makes this an equally fun and frustrating experience, with the AI being the biggest drawback.

    Along with this, there is also the hub world that you explore in between missions which is just a small little base for XCOM to set up shop, but it does feel good to come back there between missions. From it you can recruit new soldiers, send troops out on dispatch missions to increase their level and unlock new abilities. It’s also where you can access some minor operations which are just small side quests that are short and provide experience. Often, these minor operations will give you access to new weapons before the main campaign will, so there’s always little things to motivate you to complete them.

    Your protagonist also levels up since you have your own experience system as well, with some very useful abilities. There’s only one class of abilities to choose from, but they have some of the best powers in the game. I can even count the times these powers – like lift, drones, and heal – saved me and my allies throughout the game.

    The game’s second big weak point though is the story. While the lack of any character development in any of the main cast is already disappointing, the story’s biggest problem is actually in the main character. William Carter is the walking stereotype of that guy who was the best of the best but fell apart because of some tragedy that takes place before the game starts. Despite the attempts, there's a huge lack of sympathy for the guy, with his constantly negative attitude and badass tough exterior, all coated with the tough guy rasp in his voice.

    If you were willing to look past it all, the last level just ensures you'll hate the game to pieces. The game simply sticks you in one area and throws waves of enemies at you for ten minutes, and if you die once in this level, it's straight back to the beginning. It's an infuriating send off to what was already a frustrating game.

    Overall, the Bureau just isn't that good. It has great ideas in place, but they're not executed well, and the weak story only adds to this problem. Plus, with an already better additional title to the XCOM series out the previous year, there's just no real reason to pick this game up. Despite your love for shooters or XCOM, it's best to steer clear of this one.
    Expand
  3. Sep 2, 2013
    7
    The Bureau is a solid built and enjoyable game that will appeal to all of those that are fans of the XCOM games, but it must be noted that this is a distant relation to the usual strategy gameplay of Enemy Unknown. The art and presentation are well put together and the story itself is a joy to play out. The problems come with clunky controls and squadmates that need constant instruction. IThe Bureau is a solid built and enjoyable game that will appeal to all of those that are fans of the XCOM games, but it must be noted that this is a distant relation to the usual strategy gameplay of Enemy Unknown. The art and presentation are well put together and the story itself is a joy to play out. The problems come with clunky controls and squadmates that need constant instruction. I spent most of the game feeling as I had killed everything and I had 2 people with me to keep me company. The other floor is that the research system seems totally absent and the XCOM HQ itself feels like it could of had so so much more to keep you active between missions.

    Overall its playable and XCOM fans will get something from this.
    Expand
  4. Feb 23, 2016
    6
    Not as bad as I thought it would be. The pause and order your team around is pretty neat. I like the setting a lot. But that shooting is so terrible. One of the worst implementation of auto aim ever. There have been worse PS+ games.
  5. Jan 7, 2014
    6
    After 3 days on my back (with a knackerd back) with nothing to entertain me and take my mind off the pain but 'the bureau' heres my review after about 10 hours playing.

    What is it with xcom games? Overall its an enjoyable game a 3rd person squad based tactical shooter set in the xcom universe. real time with 'slow time' for orders to be issued, rather than the more common xcom
    After 3 days on my back (with a knackerd back) with nothing to entertain me and take my mind off the pain but 'the bureau' heres my review after about 10 hours playing.

    What is it with xcom games?

    Overall its an enjoyable game a 3rd person squad based tactical shooter set in the xcom universe. real time with 'slow time' for orders to be issued, rather than the more common xcom turn based.

    BUT it gets increasingly glitchy as the game progresses. Just like its predecessor 'enemy unknown'. Same sorts of problems too. Units have major line of sight issues, shooting and moving through walls (or getting stuck in them), characters talk out of sync in cut scenes (or interact with objects like terminals several yards away from them), sound effects shut off during missions, main character enters a sort of game stopping 'ghost mode' mid mission able to move but with no ability to interact with the world, game freezes on transition into or out of missions aaaaaaaaaargh frustration. and these problems happen on two different PS3 (I swapped my units over halfway through) so its definitely the game not the PS3.

    Aside from being spotted and fixed before release, its well over 3 months after release and this stuff should have been patch fixed by now.

    Aside from the bugs its a good(ish) game, good story, good xcom integration, excellent 50s/60s USA nostalga/setting, good integration with 'real world' UFO lore (abductions and xfiles stuff) BUT with some real immersion destroying mechanics like squad support specialists calling down 'artillery strikes' inside rooms in alien space stations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So much of the xcom alien tech is 'magic' just call it a 'cluster bomb grenade' or something less immersion destroying than an artillery strike inside a sealed room.

    Well worth playing for xcom fans, like me, but prepare to be frustrated.
    Expand
  6. Sep 18, 2013
    5
    The two u's sum up the Bureau underwhelming and unfulfilling and it is even more disappointing because it was made by 4k the same people that did Bioshock and to be honest with you this game looked a lot more interesting when it was a first person shooter.
  7. Mar 9, 2016
    7
    I loved Xcom Enemy Unknown so jumped at the chance to get back into the series while this is unlikely to interest many of the more strategy gaming fans from the original games it is a solid enough 3rd person shooter and hell it is more Xcom which if fine by me

    Graphics 8/10

    Gameplay 7/10

    Story 7/10

    Overall 7/10
Metascore
69

Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Oct 13, 2013
    80
    After everything I've written, it should be quite clear to XCOM fans that The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is an entirely different kettle of fish despite sharing a few superficial elements. If the developers hadn't tried to connect the two, I suspect that more people might be pleasantly surprised by what it offers—a fantastically detailed 60's setting, an interesting approach to squad-based shooting, and a genuinely surprising sci-fi story that's told with panache.
  2. Official PlayStation Magazine Benelux
    Sep 27, 2013
    75
    The Bureau is a though game to get into, not because of the difficulty but because of the unreliable Battle Focus, which you use to issue commands to your two companions. Another problem are the seemingly unending waves of enemies bearing down on you. [September p.50]
  3. Play UK
    Sep 25, 2013
    57
    Technical issues, iffy storytelling and some questionable choices make for an uneven experience that fails to capitalise on what a fantastic license XCOM is. [Issue#235, p.76]