Metascore
68

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Aug 31, 2013
    80
    The Bureau is a smart action game that combines the tactical aspect of Mass Effect with the simplicity of Bioshock. A surprisingly solid story makes this a great individual game, even if it struggles to find it's place in the XCOM-series.
  2. Aug 26, 2013
    80
    A good game. It takes the strategy from XCOM and makes it work within a shooter-based gameplay. It's an enjoyable sci-fi shooter.
  3. Aug 23, 2013
    80
    By resembling both a shooter and real-time version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified isn’t the easiest game to grasp. Yet, if you tough it out through the game’s initial hours, there’s a lot gratification to be found in AI team management.
  4. Aug 20, 2013
    80
    Although not perfect, The Bureau is a brilliant squad shooter with an intriguing story and brains.
  5. Aug 20, 2013
    80
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a good shooter occasionally elevated beyond that by its subject matter. Unfortunately, every time it has a really good idea, someone else has already done it.
  6. 80
    A smartly turned-out squad-based cover shooter, not to mention an authentic-feeling and authentic-looking period piece, The Bureau might not be as good as Enemy Unknown, but it certainly has a style and a charm of its own. The years of development hell have been worth it.
  7. Aug 19, 2013
    80
    The Bureau is Enemy Unknown’s hyperactive younger sibling who delivers something different while still fitting in well with its predecessors.
  8. Aug 19, 2013
    80
    Being an XCOM fan, I was sincerely hopeful that they didn’t destroy the name of this franchise with a generic third-person shooter, which could have easily been the case. But they didn’t. They did so much more. They expertly crafted the beloved gameplay elements of the XCOM universe into an intuitive third-person experience, while delivering an interesting story, which is no easy task.
  9. Aug 19, 2013
    80
    There’s no sugarcoating the fact that The Bureau lacks much of the refinement we expect from modern triple-A games, but anyone who looks past the flawed surface will find a game bursting with brilliant ideas. With smart, engaging tactical combat and one of the most compelling sci-fi narratives the medium has seen to date, this one’s destined to become a cult classic.
  10. Sep 15, 2013
    77
    Interesting gameplay mechanics and a suspense-rich plot make it a game worth to be tried, even if it could have been much better.
  11. Aug 26, 2013
    76
    But in the end, The Bureau is a completely different game that stands on its own. While they didn’t make the next game of the year, 2K Marin has crafted their own XCOM adventure. It’s one that features some lifeless characters and a nonsensical story, but also some of the best squad-based third person shooting you’re going to see all year.
  12. Aug 20, 2013
    75
    Even as the story wears out its welcome, some gonzo story points and exciting choices reinvigorate the final act. I wish more of the game was characterized by the dramatic decisions found in the final hours.
  13. Sep 5, 2013
    73
    The Bureau – XCOM Declassified isn’t a bad game by any means. Indeed, once you come to terms with the micro-management of your team and the few clunky control issues it reveals itself to be a fairly solid shooting experience peppered with some great set-pieces.
  14. Oct 3, 2013
    70
    Better than it has any right to be, but still deeply flawed. [Nov 2013, p.68]
  15. Aug 26, 2013
    70
    After all the problems, changes and delays in recent years, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified could have been much (much) worse. The result however is decent for the most parts mostly thanks to the intriguing and tactical combat system.
  16. Aug 20, 2013
    70
    Given its fractured development and lumpen structure, the fact that The Bureau is actually pretty good is arguably victory enough. It's certainly the "contemporary" game 2K wanted - but it's never as inventive or memorable as the strategy game that inspired it.
  17. 70
    Declassified may not be innovative or even very pretty, and it certainly has its problems. But this is also a strategy-lite shooter that’s more than the sum of its often rough-hewn parts. It's entertaining from start to finish, and feels a bit brainier than other shooters when it comes to gunning down hordes of enemies. In that regard, Declassified captures at least part of what makes the XCOM franchise so special.
  18. Sep 1, 2013
    65
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is not the first-person shooter we were promised three years ago. Instead we get a passable third-person shooter with ambitions to be Mass Effect. Unfortunately neither the gameplay nor the story deliver, leaving us with a messy game with a groan-inducing twist.
  19. Aug 26, 2013
    65
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified aims at combining Mass Effect’s combat with the trappings of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but it fails to live up to either. The action is capable of offering some thrills, but The Bureau is a poorly put together game with a list of problems that prevent it from rising above mediocre. Disappointing.
  20. Sep 17, 2013
    60
    It's not ready yet. [Issue#102, p.78]
  21. Sep 12, 2013
    60
    A mix of tactical and shooter gameplay can work - it has worked in other games before - it just doesn't work well here. It's probably the result of all of the gear changing that the game had to do during development.
  22. Aug 23, 2013
    60
    As is, The Bureau makes for a decent enough 10 hours of alien-obliterating combat, but all the way through you'll find yourself lamenting the many aspects that feel like they could have, and should have, been better.
  23. Aug 23, 2013
    60
    It's to 2K Marin's credit that a game that began as an utterly cynical mistreatment of a beloved old title has ended up being an interestingly experimental game.
  24. Aug 20, 2013
    60
    It’s just a shame that the whole thing comes in a package that looks like a rushed movie tie-in, as with more time to both polish the visuals and perfect the gameplay, The Bureau could have been more than just a throwaway shooter with strategy elements tacked on.
  25. Aug 19, 2013
    60
    The game gets in its own way, stumbling when it seeks to siphon strategy mechanics into a formula that doesn't support them. The Bureau wants to rocket you into outer space, but it can't escape the gravity of the games that spawned it.
  26. Aug 19, 2013
    60
    The Bureau: XCOM Declassified doesn't tell much of a story, and the gameplay is split between the action-packed missions and the supremely boring HQ meanderings. You'll have a ton of fun when you're actually on missions, but that only accounts for 60% of the time you'll spend in game.
  27. Aug 21, 2013
    58
    The Bureau is trying hard to pass as a shooter and a strategy game, but seems to accidentally squash its clever ideas with brute force. Though combat might slosh around and threaten to spill, it’s functional. The presentation can only be called cheap, but there’s a dab of polish.
  28. 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.
  29. Aug 19, 2013
    50
    A terminally flawed experience but there are enough good ideas to hint at an action spin-off that could have been every bit as good as the real XCOM games.
  30. Sep 1, 2013
    42
    The XCOM franchise deserves better than this, an experiment to take XCOM out of its comfort zone that clearly went awry.
User Score
6.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. Aug 20, 2013
    4
    Pretty bad. I loved Enemy Unknown, but this is just completely terrible. The combat is okay, and is arguably the best thing about the game.Pretty bad. I loved Enemy Unknown, but this is just completely terrible. The combat is okay, and is arguably the best thing about the game. However, the story is completely nonsensical and the graphics are dated at best. Probably the most disappointing game of the year for me. Full Review »
  2. Aug 23, 2013
    2
    As an XCOM fan I feel cheated. I really wish I'd read up on the game more before I bought it. I bought it because it's XCOM, but it's not...As an XCOM fan I feel cheated. I really wish I'd read up on the game more before I bought it. I bought it because it's XCOM, but it's not...
    People have said it's tactical, well not like any other XCOM is. In the time it takes you to issue a few orders out the enemy is on the move and has been shooting you (albeit in slow mo) while you have been doing so. During the course of my first mission I had killed 70+ with my character, while my AI controlled counterparts had gotten 15 between them (and ok I had a few fights before they joined me but still).

    Maybe it's me, maybe I just wanted another Enemy Unknown or Apocolypse game. Maybe I don't like change. But still, this is not for me, past XCOM games have been games I enjoyed while watching the tele in the background, games I can relax to, this is just frustrating.

    Pros:
    - Story did seem interesting
    - Lots of enemies

    Cons:
    - Real time combat
    - Slow mo squad order system
    - AI or lack of
    - Lack of 'checkpoints' or save feature
    - Awful squad mechanic
    - Awful shooting mechanic
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 20, 2013
    10
    The Bureau is very good game. It has a strong tactical component, good plot, and nice graphic, battles is very tense and hard. AI of enemiesThe Bureau is very good game. It has a strong tactical component, good plot, and nice graphic, battles is very tense and hard. AI of enemies is pretty smart, they may surround you, attack you from behind. In my opinion: one of the best shooters of last five years. Full Review »