Last week I got my hands on the new instalment in the XCOM franchise in The Bureau. The whole franchise has taken a somewhat exciting turn since the last year as Enemy Unknown was thrust upon unsuspecting gamers to universal praise. I was one of them. It was one of the best games of last year. The tactical turn based strategy game was a really interesting choice on a console, and while other strategy games have struggled on those platforms in the past, Enemy Unknown was intuitive, creative and let the player do as they please.
If you are new to the series, the basics are: Aliens, Invasion, Stop Invasion. The series has a long history having started in 1994 and has gone through a few genres but the hardcore fanbase generally identify with the top down turned based strategy games in the series. That is why when a first person shooter was announced at E3 2010 it was not exactly received with the most glowing excitement. It was ridiculed, disdained and was met with disparagement. It was an example of corporate ideals of reliance on first person shooters and franchising for the sake of franchising.
However, since its announcement, the game has gone through tons of reinventions, doubt and worry. However, finally the game has resurfaced as The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and is now a third person shooter from the people who brought you Bioshock 2. And after playing about 40 minutes, I really dig the hell out of it.
There is plenty for fans of the series to enjoy and the game will no doubt bring in the new blood who weren’t up to facing a strategy game. Some were worried the game might become a bastardised version of Enemy Unknown and action game pandering, but there are plenty ideas here that are seemingly incorporated intelligently…
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This article was first posted on May 14, 2013