The Bureau: XCOM Declassified or Just Another Alien Shooter?

After last year’s turn-based strategy gem XCOM: Enem Unknown, the clunkily sounding The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has been perceived as the wild and action-oriented younger sibling. In truth, XCOM DC (sounds catchy, doesn’t it?) is the older brother, although it took a long time until he was allowed to walk in public places …

After an atmospheric vintage intro, XCOM Declassified makes clear who its parents are: Tactical real-time battles with slow-mow effects, special abilities (one actually called “Lift” …) and a squad based approach are definite genetic trails of Shepard’s Mass Effect series. However, the learning curve is steeper and deaths can actually happen on normal if you choose the wrong tactic – add special enemies such as Mutons and Sectopods, and you’ll get more interesting and challenging battles than in Mass Effect.

XCOM Declassified¬†basically consists of three sections: The balanced and fun combat, walking around the base talking to people, and then there’s the disappointingly rather basic squad management; you can equip and customise your squad. Oh, and in what seems like an abduction from Assassin’s Creed, you can send your people onto missions they do themselves; they’ll return with some new equipment afterwards. Unfortunately, that’s as deep as everything gets.

Two main and side missions respectively in, Rabidgames can already say that XCOM Declassified is an alright game; combat is satisfying and challenging, story and setting are okay, but small, linear levels, tedious and slow movement in the base and the simplicity of the squad management (and no options what to research whatsoever) show the game is not at top level. Well, it’s not that bad for a game which was probably close to being cancelled several times though …

Rabidgames admits: This game is the perfect example of a rather average game – it’s not really horrible, but nothing in it excels in any regard, too. It might be worth renting or buying cheap, but full price seems a bit steep – unless you’re a devoted XCOM supporter or you’re longing for some more Mass Effect inspired tactical combat, and you don’t mind the lack of research and global strategic decisions …

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