The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Review: Please Reclassify
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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Building (Critical) Consensus: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
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.