Reviews by GeneJacket

58

Could have been so much better.

GeneJacket | Aug. 25, 2013 | Review of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (NA)

It's fairly evident early on in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified that, at some point, 2K Marin had a very different game on their hands. The core ideas, the setting, the weaponry and all the early demo footage showed a game that was very much XCOM in spirit.

Unfortunately, the game they delivered is nothing but a hodgepodge of well-worn cliches and horrendous AI. It's essentially Mass Effect, with that series' branching conversation trees, squad tactics and cover system, only none of it works anywhere near as well. The mechanics here work well, in theory, but they're so slapdash-edly executed with poor controls that nothing works as it should. Squad members will dash in-and-out of cover, in spite of what they're told to do, leading to many frequent, infuriating deaths.

Otherwise, the story seems fine, if a little underwhelming. At times it's downright gorgeous, with extensively detailed environments and dynamic lighting. Other times, like when characters are conversing, animation and lip-synch are stiff and jagged, looking nearly last-gen.

Unevenness seems to be the overriding factor throughout, at times exciting and fresh, but mostly just boring and bland. Another few months development could have done The Bureau a lot of good but, as it stands I can't recommend it unless you've simply got to play anything XCOM branded.