Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 108 Ratings

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  • Summary: It's 1962. John F. Kennedy is the U.S. President and the Cold War has the nation gripped with fear – but a far more viscous and insidious enemy than communism is threatening America. Known only to a scant few, a covet government unit called The Bureau begins investigating and concealing a series of mysterious attacks by an alien enemy. As special agent William Carter, you make the decisions, pull the trigger and lead your squad in a third-person tactical shooter set within a high-stakes, covert war to defend the human race. The Bureau’s mission is clear – survive, adapt and overcome the enemy threat (Heartbreak Ridge-style) to protect the citizens from the truth. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Aug 19, 2013
    The Bureau is Enemy Unknown’s hyperactive younger sibling who delivers something different while still fitting in well with its predecessors.
  2. Aug 20, 2013
    Although not perfect, The Bureau is a brilliant squad shooter with an intriguing story and brains.
  3. Aug 31, 2013
    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.
  4. Aug 20, 2013
    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.
  5. Aug 26, 2013
    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.
  6. Aug 23, 2013
    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.
  7. Sep 1, 2013
    The XCOM franchise deserves better than this, an experiment to take XCOM out of its comfort zone that clearly went awry.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. Aug 20, 2013
    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 enemies is pretty smart, they may surround you, attack you from behind. In my opinion: one of the best shooters of last five years. Expand
  2. Sep 17, 2013
    I loved X-Com Enemy Unknown. It was fresh, challenging and made you think. Nothing about Enemy Unknown should detract from the successes of The Bureau, which is also fresh, challenging and makes you think. It's such a shame that some reviewers award far lower scores than it actually deserve because it's compared against an expectation that nothing should be changed from the original formula. In other words fan-boys and fan-girls who presumably must have exactly one slice of toast, with 2.2g of butter, 1.5 dollops of Robinson's shredded orange marmalade, one hard boiled egg (7.7cm circumference) and 353 ml of milk for their breakfast EVERY day, because change wouldn't be good.

    The Bureau is a great game in its own right. Graphically the game creates a wonderful world full of tasteful pastel colour, great environments and detail that deserves recognition for what it does and how it makes the player feel drawn into the game. The game does a fantastic job of inviting you into a well thought out and portrayed sic-fi adventure that would be fitting of many a AAA movie, and is not too dissimilar in storyline to Independence Day. The vistas are lovely to look at and the 60's setting offers a welcome change to the humdrum of other game designs. The creativity behind the overall theme and the atmosphere it creates is as good as any Bio-shock or Mass Effect game. Later in the game the alien-ship architecture and technology together with glimpses of a stunning galaxy are on a par with, and often better than, many of the AAA movie titles you could think of.

    The interaction between characters is very much like Mass Effect and once you've chosen a certain line of dialogue you want to pursue, I love the slight twist on how your character delivers the message in the same way that the lead characters in Mass Effect did. Yes it's a simple development trick but one which captures your attention and satisfies if you are even slightly interested in video games telling a story rather than just knocking on a 2ft thick plank of wood.

    Controls are tight and the method of selecting skills, attributes and weapons is very simple and intuitive and never interfere with gameplay.

    Yes, as some reviewers have pointed out, the selection of skills mid-fight does pause the 'action' but this is not an action game in the same genre as COD, it's a tactical shooter and one in which tactics need to be considered, actioned and then reconsidered and re-actioned to keep on top of the enemy onslaught. The enemy will try to flank you, then they introduce ones that can fly, so overhead becomes a problem too. If you accept that issuing orders and actually leading your team is a key focus on this game, you will automatically realise that the selection of skills mid-fight is not a hinderance but actually the core skill in the game. Where will you direct your team to take cover, what weapons should they deploy against who, which enemy needs to be taken out first, can you afford to ignore part of the battlefield in favour of tasking everyone to concentrate fire-power on just one foe, who needs medical attention, who is about to die, do you provide that medical attention yourself or direct a team member to do so? It's all down to you and you can approach a fight in any way you please.

    Before you begin a mission you will choose which squad members to take with you. That choice will have a bearing on how easy or how successful you are in completing the mission. Each squad member can be levelled up through experience and you can choose which attributes and weapons they should carry with them.

    You cant upgrade weapons as such, but you can choose from rapid fire weapons with lots of ammo to heavier plasma weapons with more limited ammo. You can upgrade certain elements of the squad's attributes. Generally that focuses on a choice of harder-hitting weapons, an ability to distract enemies or offer squad-healing abilities according to what you think would be most useful.

    The Bureau can be challenging and on harder difficulty levels it demands real focus on your team and constant reassessment of risk and tactics. It can all become quite frantic at times. Once a mission is complete you'll return to base where a few discussions with other characters will take place. Again I found those visits to the base very interesting in developing the story and I spent a little time just soaking in the atmosphere of the very believable (in a sci-fi world) bunker and the people who work there. I do not agree with those who suggest the visits to base are long and drawn out and completely unnecessary.

    Overall I rate this game very highly and would recommend it to those who love tactical shooters, Mass Effect style games and who love the XCom theme but who are open minded enough to accept that a new take on a theme can be hugely enjoyable without being a carbon copy with a new front cover?

    A new adventure anyone? Or would you prefer a lemon-curd sandwich the same as yesterday?
  3. Aug 21, 2013
    As a fan who's played since when the game was called X-Com I know this may be a bitter pill to swallow for purists. There was an extensive "Development hell" that the game went through (see the article over at Polygon) and while I think that comes through in some of the game's fractured design ideas this is very much a case of the whole being "more than the sum of it's parts". It's not a perfect game but it reminds me of Mass Effect (the first game). Flawed but with promise, the setting is intriguing and it serves as an interesting setup to Enemy Unknown. This is for sure something that can be built and improved but the design aesthetics and the story alone are worth playing.

    Now when it comes to game play it's very much a child of Mass Effect, this is not a bad thing. Issuing commands to your squad can be frantic especially since time slows down but doesn't stop you need to be very careful. The pacing can be quite clunky at times with stretches of nothing then kill boxes but still it's enjoyable.

    I admit my score is at least partially tainted by nostalgia but at least I can be honest about that, for many it may be a case of getting the game on sale and I understand that but everyone should give this game a go even if it's on Steam Sale.
  4. Oct 20, 2013
    Concept: Create a story that serves as a prequel to the modern XCOM gaming exploits that we know and are familiar with, while creating some new takes on certain elements and the gameplay itself, as well as presenting entirely new options and characters.

    Graphics: It has a similar art style to that of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and yet colors in The Bureau are slightly less colorful, and contrast more with their environment- presenting some interestingly vivid and muted combinations here and there throughout the alien battlefield.

    Sound: What would surely be a tense and suspenseful musical score is undermined at nearly every turn by the sounds of reloading, healing, and taking out enemies. Sure, these sounds are all well and fine, in moderation anyways.

    Playability: It truly gets better as you go, as you'll later feel naked without your learned abilities and powers in the first few battles, should you choose to play the game over again. As you progress and learn new tricks and upgrade some older ones, the gameplay also gets a bit easier to handle and becomes more fun. As it is at the beginning however, it could serve as a major turnoff to many players unwilling to give the game a second shot later.

    Entertainment: 2K manages to craft an entertaining and exciting gameplay experience, even with the myriad of issues that often tags along with it in terms of story and combat. Beyond that all however, it is an excellent tactical concoction.

    Replay Value: Moderate.

    Overall Score: 8.0
  5. Mar 8, 2014
    Those suggesting the tactical interface and commands don't work in this game I would suggest simply don't know how to play a game like this, the command system and combat works remarkably well you just have to stay on top of it and constantly issue new orders to your NPCs.
    Decent graphics, pretty much what you expect out of the story line, average music and sound but overall a very enjoyable experience, I would say unlike Enemy Unknown, which is undoubtedly the better game, Declassified has little to no replay value, but you should enjoy your first romp through.
  6. Sep 18, 2013
    Quite a disappointment and it forever be a stain on Xcom and is proof that pretty graphics can't save a game from disappointment I mean they could have made an excellent third person shooter. Expand
  7. Aug 23, 2013
    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.

    - Story did seem interesting
    - Lots of enemies

    - Real time combat
    - Slow mo squad order system
    - AI or lack of
    - Lack of 'checkpoints' or save feature
    - Awful squad mechanic
    - Awful shooting mechanic

See all 27 User Reviews