Just because Irrational Games has effective shut down as it restructures to become the world’s highest-profile indie-sized game developer, that doesn’t mean that their epic BioShock franchise is gone with them.
2K Marin, the studio that helped Irrational with BioShock and developed BioShock 2, has been tapped by Take-Two Interactive, 2K Games’ parent company, to once again take over BioShock and make the next game in the series.
I recall hearing a games critic say that playing bad games is much more fun than playing good games because there’s so much more to write or talk about when you play a bad game. I have to disagree. There’s nothing fun about playing a bad game. Playing through a bad game is a painful and frustrating experience. Once you move beyond the frustration, it gets funny but you have to get to that point. At least writing the review can be somewhat cathartic.
And that brings us to The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. This game started life back in 2006 as just XCOM, a first-person survival horror about an alien invasion. The idea of an XCOM shooter terrified fans of the classic 1990s PC strategy game and the shooter was seemingly put to the side to make way for the rebooting of X-COM as a strategy game franchise with 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
However, the XCOM shooter didn’t go away. The game from the seventh circle of XCOM fan hell was pulled from the seventh circle of development hell by 2K Games and 2K Marin. It was almost completely reimagined during a seven-year development cycle from being a first-person horror to a third-person squad-based tactical shooter. Unfortunately, it should have remained in development hell, never to see the light of day.
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XCOM has had a rather interesting path from when it was first conceived in 2006 to its release yesterday. It started as a first-person survival horror shooter before being redesigned as a third-person tactical squad-based shooter. XCOM was originally an Irrational Games project before getting moved to 2K Marin. And it was delayed from its original release date of 2011 to the same day on 2013 that Saints Row IV and Splinter Cell: Blacklist were released. Not exactly what one would call a promising history.
Well, Jim Sterling’s leaked review on Destructoid wasn’t exactly a harbinger of reviews to come for The Bureau. It might be the lowest review but nobody’s given this game higher than 80% either which is kind of low by today’s gaming critic standards. The critics all seem to agree that the game’s tactical squad-based combat is in need of some polish but it’s executed well enough to be different from the other myriad of third-person shooters. We’re supposed to be getting our own review copy from 2K so I’ll let you know what I think soon.
Why does it seem that every game that I have even the slightest of hopes for gets mixed to poor reviews from the critics. For the last few months, I’ve been keeping tabs on the rechristened XCOM shooter now called The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
Well, the review embargo is reportedly 9:00 PM tonight but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t had a review leak as is befitting of a game whose premise involves classified US government documents.
Destructoid’s Jim Sterling’s review of the game was the first to leak and it’s not looking good for XCOM fans.
After many delays and much controversy, the XCOM shooter is finally on track for a retail release. After being announced as a first-person shooter reboot to the cult hit X-COM series, it’s now a third-person shooter spin-off set in the XCOM universe called “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.”
In The Bureau, you play as Special Agent William Carter at the height of the Cold War in 1962. At first, working for The Bureau was about investigating possible Soviet activity. It quickly gave way to finding extra-terrestrial activity, dealing with the alien threat and covering it up to keep from inciting a nationwide panic.