Tanner Reviews The Bureau: XCOM Declassified


Bureau_XCOM_Declassified_coverYou probably thought today’s review would be Grand Theft Auto V, but HA! Jokes on you, I’m too poor right now to afford it!… Wait… Either way I will be reviewing GTA V next Saturday! Today however, we are going to be looking at a much much MUCH lesser game than GTA V, the most recent game in the XCOM series, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. When I play a game like Bureau, there really is only one word that can come to my mind to explain it… Bland. A third person shooter involving an invading alien species is bland. It really is sad to see a franchise like XCOM crap out a game such as this. Doomed from the start with lackluster gameplay and a poor and formulaic storyline, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a major downgrade from its predecessors.

Set in 1962, the story centers around a US Agent named William Carter. He is tasked with the mission of bringing a briefcase to his superior Director Faulke. After being attacked by another agent infected with the Sleepwalker Virus, a virus that turns the infected into zombie like drones who continue to relive the same moment over and over again. A full on alien invasion ensues as aliens known as Outsiders attempts to colonize earth and bring earth’s population into their hive mind collective. Carter is later recruited by The Bureau by Faulke and than undertakes various missions to help save the human race. It is later revealed that Carter is actually partially being manipulated by another alien species known as a ethereal. An alien that is made up of pure energy. The story then revolves around Carter, Faulke, an agent named Angela Weaver, and a doctor named Weir who attempt to defeat the Outsiders, cure the Sleepwalker Virus, and deal with the ethereal symbiote.

Pros

Controls and Combat are Pretty Good

I’m not going to make a fuss about combat and controls since I really never ran into any problems with them. Gun play is fun and exciting. It can be a little easy at times but not bad. The combat is almost an exact duplicate of Mass Effect which I suppose is a good thing since that game is awesome. But overall this really isn’t a problem with the game. I would even say it is pretty damn cool. Almost like Call of Duty but with aliens.

The Idea of Customizing Your Squad is Always a Great Conceptdownload

Man this was a great idea that was pretty much ruined by this game… But it was a good concept none the less. The game allows you to customize your team of soldiers who accompany you on missions. Most of them are your standard characters, regular soldiers, engineers, medics, and scouts and have their own advantages and disadvantages attached to them. I enjoyed creating my own characters and going into battle with what really felt like ‘my team’ of badasses.

The problem though is that each of your soldiers can only reach a level 5 and that usually comes to a decently skilled player rather quickly. The other thing is that the customization is… Well not great. Instead of being able to fully customize your teammates they are only allowed a specific set of clothes and a specific set of character heads. It would just be so cool to see a full on customization so I could recruit the team I wanted instead of the pre selected body types and heads. Overall it is a cool concept that could have been A LOT cooler.

Cons

The Whole Keeping It ‘Classified’ Bullshit is Completely Ludicrous

I hate this. The entire time one of  the Bureau’s main objectives is to keep the population in the dark about the full-blown alien invasion of the United States. From Washington DC to California these aliens are attacking and terraforming the earth. But even at the end of the movie, they say ‘Yay we were able to keep it under wraps.’ Really? How?! I know this is the 1960’s and not as technologically connected as we are now. But this is a country-wide invasion by alien species in which they annihilate entire cities and construct gigantic skyscraper sized constructs for the purpose of turning the Earth into one of their planets. Meanwhile as entire cities are being annihilated across the country, there are survivors who witnessed this stuff. Not just one crazy guy who claims to see aliens in Roswell, these are hundreds of thousands of refugees who have eye-witness accounts of extra terrestrial creatures destroying cities and turning regular people into mindless drones.

You were really able to keep this under wraps? From whom? You have missions in Indiana, Montana, California, DC, Georgia, New York, and in New Mexico. Are you trying to keep a small town in Wyoming from figuring out that aliens are invading? Even in the 1960’s I’m sure that someone would realize that a huge chunk of the population is now dead or that whole cities have been destroyed. Sure they say that it was chalked up to ‘natural disasters’… Natural disasters don’t leave huge alien buildings in their wake. To think that something like an alien invasion can be covered up like that is an insult to my intelligence!

download (1)The Protagonist changes in the Third Act (Spoilers)

While the game does not do a grand job of fleshing out William Carter as a strong protagonist… They still do flesh out the character enough that you at least enjoy playing as him. He is a stereotypical cleft chinned, gruff guy in a suit but it isn’t bad… But then near the end of the film and William Carter learns of the ethereal the game can either go in one of four directions. Carter blows himself and the ethereal up and the game ends or the ethereal takes control of Weaver, Weir, or Faulke. The rest of the game you take control of the one of the three you chose and later decide the fate of two of the three remaining people, including Carter who you have the option of killing.

I suppose you could say that you are actually playing as the ethereal and not the character itself. But this is the equivalent of a movie just randomly changing its protagonist for no real rhyme or reason to it. Imagine if Star Wars did that, for the sixth film it just becomes about Han Solo instead of Luke Skywalker. No reason or a very weak reason. Just the story is about Solo and Luke is just some tertiary character. Sure Faulke, Weaver, and Weir are fleshed out characters too, but we were laboring under the assumption that we were playing as a protagonist and switching it two-thirds of the way through just confuses the players

The Game is Boring and Uninspired

Really, compared to some of the games that have been coming out. This game is just plain boring. There is no ingenuity to the game, there is no innovation. It is a bland third person shooter in which you hunt various aliens over and over again. You go from plot point to plot point until finally the game comes to an end.

Conclusion

This game is just plain boring. It isn’t that great, the animation is terrible, and really with so many great games out there, it is kind of pointless to play a game as boring and forgetful as this one.

Final Score 2/5

Thank you for reading. Please return tomorrow when I will be reviewing the film Fruitvale Station and please if you enjoyed this review then like and subscribe for more from me.

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