The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

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The Bureau: XCOM Declassified review
William Thompson


Survive, Adapt, Win... Welcome to XCOM!

Alien intelligence

There are enough alien types to keep things interesting. The Outsiders are reasonably intelligent and units will often attempt to flank your positions. Sectoids are the pawns of the alien race and are easy to pick off, whilst various commanders are a little tougher with the ability to organise formations, provide shields and even heal injured units. Some can even deploy automatic turrets.

And then there are the big boys, the ones that provide the game's boss battles. It is these units, such as the metal spider-like Sectopod and the heavily armoured Muton, that require the squad to work together more efficiently, using each of their abilities to combat the heavy hitters.

Looks impressive

The Bureau feels somewhat like a 1960's B-Grade science fiction movie. Maybe it is because of the settings in which the game plays out. The local sets have been wonderfully created in the same way 1920s America was recreated for BioShock Infinite. The farms are particularly well designed, making the settings seem realistic despite the alien invasion scenario. The characters have also been well designed with costumes that fit the era. The main character William Carter is especially impressive. He has all the hallmarks of the classic lead actor slicked back hair, chiselled features, well dressed in a debonair fashion and a deep manly voice that Batman would be proud of.

Speaking of voices, the voice acting throughout the game is reasonably good, with each of the main characters having a distinct voice, even if there are some slight lip-synching issues. The sound effects are a little poor, though. As Carter walks everywhere, there is the incessant clomp, clomp of his feet and it sounds the same no matter the surface he is walking on. The music is thoroughly entertaining, however. Each of the areas has divergent musical pieces, and the atmosphere builds in the tone of the music as the drama unfolds.

Not what XCOM fans expect

OK, so The Bureau is different to what XCOM fans would be used to, but does that make it a bad game? As a squad based shooter, The Bureau is reasonably good. The game is great to look at and although the story is somewhat bland, it does flow nicely. The combat mechanics and cover system work well and finding out which combinations of agent abilities work well together can be a bit of fun. Unfortunately, the squad AI lets the game down. It's great to set the team mates to a task, but they certainly can't think for themselves as evidenced by them not moving out of the way quickly enough when a grenade lands at their feet. But that aside, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is an adequate shooter that is worthy of the XCOM name.


fun score


Combat and cover system work well, enemy AI is well designed


The story is extremely linear, squad AI is disappointing