The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Declassified

By Craig Pearson on July 4th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Headline thanks to BooleanBob
I just read Adam’s thoughts on the previous footage of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and I can see why he was grumpy. His video was from earlier on in the game, whereas Revision3′s runthrough is from bit later on, but his points stand: the moment-to-moment shooting doesn’t seem nearly as interesting as the command system that tosses the rest of the squad into battle, and every time it’s dropped in favour of cover-based blasting it doesn’t feel right. I disagree with him that it should just be turn-based, however. I’m not that much of a grump.

The explanation for this is that this is a different beast, an attempt to turn the thoughtful, unhurried tactics of the series and make them immediate and off-the-cuff. Having the player on the ground, as a single character that’s central to the group’s movement, definitely fits that proposition. The developer’s comment, that this is like playing a combat quarterback, seems very apt. But the shooting looks weedy to me. It’s not just that it’s not as fun looking as the squad movement, but it just seems inaccurate and lacking in oomph. I wonder if it was because it was being played with a joypad?

Further pondering has lead me to imagining this without the direct character control. Still in real-time, but with the player using just the command wheel. A bit like Full Spectrum Warrior, but with lasers.

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24 Comments »

  1. Freud says:

    In case of alien invasion, duck and cover.

    • tetracycloide says:

      If you need to make decisions just stop time and think about it.

  2. Low Life says:

    Giant Bomb also had a visit from the people of 2k Marin, they played the same bit but also continued for a while after that and showed some of the base features (~16 minutes onwards): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEh6NnLPUUs

    Their video also doesn’t randomly cut to the faces of the people talking about the game.

    • Strabo says:

      Which shows something that bugs me: Why is Don Draper wearing his weapon/equipment in the base? he should only rock his sexy sweater/trousers combo, not the whole weapon system when he’s more or less relaxing.

  3. Zyx says:

    What if the command-wheel time slow-down factor thingy (how slowly time moves when you’re issuing commands) were treated as an RPG metric?

    Like, with experience (like, number of missions successed), you get to think more clearly, etc.?

    Whoa, what if there were an element of chance to it? Like the average time-slowdown depended on your experience (or not), but it could vary within some interval? Like, muton comin’ at you, you panic and don’t think as clearly and battle-time doesn’t slow down enough for you?

    URGENCY AND TEMPO FTW.

  4. BobbyDylan says:

    Hmm…. This game is on my sceptical list. Will wait for reviews.

  5. lowprices says:

    I want to believe (that this will be good).

  6. Artist says:

    My bet: The AI will be stupid as a brick in the dark! Whos in?

    • RamenAwesome says:

      If you are basing that accusation off of what you’ve seen in only this trailer than I would encourage you to watch the other gameplay trailers first. From what I’ve seen it looks like the game could be challenging.

  7. Bluerps says:

    I only realized that the title of this game is actually “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified” a couple of days ago. I thought it was named “The Bureau”, and that this “XCOM Declassified” nonsense just referred to the trailer.

    I mean, sure, what’s in a name and all that, but that title is just… not very good.

  8. kwyjibo says:

    I preferred this so much when it was an FPS.

    I miss level design – how the action is determined by the place and the architecture of the level rather than empty arenas with conspicuous amounts of waist high blocks arranged in a grid.

    I also much preferred the inscrutable abstract aliens over the bipedal whatevers.

    I’ll probably get it anyway, you can’t go too far wrong with Mad Men vs Aliens, but it looks like Mass Effect without the characters.

    • Prince says:

      You may just be a big, dumb, balding ape, but I couldn’t agree more. Sick to death of cover shooters, and at least the fps looked somewhat original for its genre. And that big hovering cube and the weird aliens blobs from the old trailer were far more intriguing than yet another case of the greys.

  9. S Jay says:

    I think this game would benefit more if it hadn’t the XCOM name in it.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I suspect it would play exactly the same regardless of what they call it.

      Although, I guess being called “XCOM” did ruin it, since they probably altered the original (and totally awesome) vision they had for it because of everyone whining about how it wasn’t X-Com.

      • AngusPrune says:

        The original vision they had was of yet another generic first person shooter. I think we can probably be thankful for the complaints. The last thing the world needs is yet another mediocre manshoot.

  10. Strangerator says:

    This game is copying Mass Effect in the wrong way. I wish they’d instead embraced the RPG elements, where Carter has to do some actual investigational work, talk to civilians, etc. They could have really delved a bit more deeply into the lore, and stuck with the same alien designs as the other XCOM for continuity (I’d have liked for the aliens to look the same). It could have revolved primarily around investigating and rooting out alien infiltration, instead of open warfare using chest-high walls.

    Maybe instead of short intense battle missions, you instead go on “assignments,” where Carter and the team of up to 3 pile into the 60′s era black g-man car (whatever it was) and are free to investigate (explore) a town, farm, or some other such area where an incident has been reported. These would be somewhat open maps, where poking around could reveal more information or even artifacts that would be very useful post-assignment. I hesitate to use the term “sandbox,” since that would connote a theme-park atmosphere of the GTA variety. These “assignment” locales needn’t be densely packed with things to do, or contain dumb anti-thematic mini games. It should be more about finding threads of leads and following up on them. Call them “quests” if you like. The combat system they have now would be fine, just tone down the “magic” to be very limited-use and do away with the unnatural terrain.

    Back at base when you decide to conclude the assignment at a particular location, you’ll have a general debrief of what was found and discuss the implications. Next you open up the cavernous trunk of your black G-man car and the science team has a field day. You can also assign every agent to specific training regimens between missions, whether that means spending time at the gym, becoming a better shot at the range, or even becoming better in other non-combat areas by spending time with the science and/or engineering teams. In any event, once science, engineering, and all team members are assigned with things to do, you can pass time and hope for breakthroughs to occur before it is time to tackle the next assignment.

    • bills6693 says:

      I agree, this would be a very interesting way to have done it. Talk to the locals, find out what they’ve seen, so you know what to do and where to go.

      The areas could be very expansive, and you have to seek out the aliens. You might find them by chance, but unlikely, and you must talk to people and work out where to go.

      Meanwhile, both while in the field and at base, time is ticking on. You’d rather be at base so you can train, rather than running around in the field.

      But yeah, what you said was pretty good, I think that would be far more fun than a cover-based tactical shooter based in an xcom-like universe.

    • The Random One says:

      I’d like a game about gumshoeing alien attacks a lot more than yet another game about shooting aliens.

      If only you could talk to the (witnesses so you could create a clear picture of the plan being carried out by) aliens.

  11. BooleanBob says:

    Oh come on!

  12. Zenicetus says:

    I wish they hadn’t used the XCOM name for this. Without that association, it doesn’t look too bad as a generic sci-fi cover shooter with a possibly interesting command mode.

    As part of the franchise though, it completely trashes the core feature of the X-COM series, which is the scariness, danger, and competence of the aliens. These aliens don’t look dangerous, and they sure as hell aren’t competent. Except for the scripted attack by the big Muton, they all stood around like target dummies. There is no feeling of them being reactive to your actions, like they are in X-COM:EU or the original game.

    I like the setting, but unless the final game has aliens that are more than target dummies, I’ll probably pass on this one.

  13. TsunamiWombat says:

    Something I noticed that intruiged me Is I noticed a damage percentage prompt pop up when aiming under tactical view, suggesting that while miss chances are no longer randomized, cover and flying WILL affect the damage your attacks do.