Posted: March 24
A very interesting game; The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is definitely not your typical video game. It attempts to bridge third-person shooting with more tactical/strategy elements like a conventional XCOM game. While many people have more detailed opinions about how WELL this is accomplished, I think the game has a pretty good rapport in trying and getting most of the two things down. I say this to mean it is possible to just go rambo and kill all the aliens yourself with your team as minimal support. It is also possible to not really fight and micromanage your team to kill everybody for you. However, the game is really the best when you can master the two and be able to multitask shooting things and issuing commands for your team to shoot things as well. I actually enjoyed that about this game very much because it allows me to focus on different enemies while being reassured that my team is putting the hurt on someone else.
However, I think the most difficult part of The Bureau to swallow is the story. I could talk for ages about its story, but I will try to keep it brief. The game does not pull its punches in its portrayal of its characters; pretty much all of the characters are morally gray characters - none of them are psychopaths, but each of their motivations make them do evil things. In that way, the characters are very realistic, they are imperfect people (or aliens) controlled like puppets and thus act out of rage, fear, and sadness. Most will never get redemption as their thirst for vengeance makes them ignore the suffering of others; a world not unlike our own.
THings I really found quirky about this game is that damn near everybody smokes. I had heard that those 60s people really liked their deathsticks, but I never thought it was THAT bad. Also, the agent customization options are pretty cool because all of the agents dress sharply and it gives me a satisfying feeling to see a well-dressed man with a vest and tie blow a Sectoid head off. Also, it has an interesting take on "third person" shooter (if you know what I mean the twist).
In conclusion, if you want a purely shoot-em-up or purely tactical game, then this one is not for you. However, The Bureau is an interesting blacksheep for those who want to give a new hybrid a go, with a plot that is complex, but quite acurate in what we would do if aliens attacked. And no, we do not become friends.