Wot I Think: The Bureau – XCOM Declassified

By Adam Smith on August 20th, 2013 at 5:00 am.

It’d be a relief to spend a few days of gaming in the company of dapper sixties agents rather than gruff space marines. Sadly, the heroes of The Bureau, dress code aside, are space marines. They shoot monsters, then roll between carefully placed cover and magically summon turrets. There are tactics to be found, but are they in sufficient quantity to make the rest of the experience worthwhile? Here’s wot I think.

During the loud, plasma scorched opening half hour, I became convinced that the current XCOM cycle had jumped straight from last year’s excellent reboot to the Enforcer of the series.

The Bureau, swiftly stripped of its thematic threads and charm, begins with a dismal and disheartening room by room tour of dull third person shooting, sectoid bullet sponges and explosive barrels. As squads are introduced and tactical options expand, the game finds its feet, but they are encased in heavy workboots rather than natty dress shoes. Even at its best, The Bureau stumbles from mission to mission rather than striding.

Eugene Levy did not trust the alcoholic lone wolf to save him

The stakes are too high, too early. Rather than a tense, period take on The X Files or a Bodysnatchers serial, 2K Marin’s game is World War B (movie). Within an hour, a huge military base has been destroyed, leaving only six survivors who nuke the area to eliminate the invading Outsiders. A mountain is terraformed out of existence. More nukes are aimed at Washington DC while mysterious alien activity sends earthquakes trembling up and down the West Coast’s spine. Rather than abducting a couple of cows or the inhabitants of a small town, these aliens build giant structures wherever they go, including enormous gun batteries and factories.

How can these truths possibly be erased?

Pre-release footage of the game concerned me. Despite finding the concept of a historical XCOM intriguing, the combat resembled sorcerous sci-fi, with more glowing apparitions and magical technology than the soldiers of Enemy Unknown ever had at their disposal.

like those trousers in Bioshock: Infinite, this backpack has magical powers

The first mission provides accompanying agents with high level powers, which must be earned when forming a new squad as soon as the game proper begins. Support chappies can generate shields, forming a bubble that protects nearby friendlies from enemy fire, and engineers can will a turret into existence. Along with the super tech, some agents can shout swears at aliens, which annoys them and makes them emerge from cover immediately, shaking their fists like enraged pensioners. It’s like taking the Green Lantern Bureau into battle, except these lot go in for replaced skin-tight space-onesies with stylish waistcoats and rakish hats (and, yes, being knocked over by an explosion blows the hat off, thankyouverymuch).

To use abilities, the player activates Battle Focus, which slows the game down, highlights all enemies and brings up a dial from which orders can be selected. Each agent’s commands take up a third of the wheel and the system works elegantly, the camera zipping to a position behind the character as the cursor moves into their quadrant. And then, as an order is given, it becomes apparent that the targeting cursor must be moved through the level like a person, becoming stuck on walls and requiring careful manoeuvring. It’s slow and unnecessarily clunky, losing all of its elegance mid-way through the process, like a ballerina with sudden and explosive diarrhoea.

Basic human functions are available for selection – move here, shoot that thing and that thing only until it is dead – but the men of XCOM are not entirely stupid. They don’t use their magical powers unless the boss man tells them to, but they will use cover in their vicinity semi-intelligently and target threats appropriately.

my favourite death pose in anything ever

The system is at its best when carrying out COMBO KILLS, which aren’t as obnoxious as they sound, despite the game flashing up a celebratory message whenever one occurs. They involve such joys as lifting an alien from behind cover, suspending it in the air, and then having a sniper perform a critical strike, killing it one hit. There are also happy tactical moments, such as realising how to take down a Sectopod effectively, using space and positioning to become Davids against Goliath.

The missions – which are fixed in place, and divided into optional and necessary – mostly have a similar pace. A Skyranger lands, an objective is relayed to the team, and then the three gents begin their hike through the scenery, which is mostly very pleasant indeed. Small town America is captured well, Rockwellian visions marred by ruptures in once quiet streets and corpses slumped by the soda pumps in malt shops. There are also rural idylls, though they too are littered with the dead.

Small groups of enemy infantry interrupt the journey, which usually leads toward a group of survivors to rescue or a device to capture/destroy. They’re no great challenge and each skirmish soon follows a pattern, with a few orders given but the bulk of the work carried out using the player’s own targeting skills.

this farm is also a nuclear launch site. Probably. Possibly.

The shooting is fine, nothing more, and I’m as confused as a chicken in a tumble dryer that I’ve spent more time targeting through a reticule than I have giving orders. My subordinates’ tendency to bleed out, far from the wound-sealing spray of a companion, is partly to blame. I’d rather take on tasks myself, to save the anxious dash across the scorched earth to perform a rescue. Death is permanent, which is distressing when a character is high level, though entry level replacements are free.

This, along with the ability of three agents (the maximum in a squad) to take out a hundred aliens in a single mission, causes almost any sense of the vulnerability and tension suggested by the period setting to evaporate faster than a cat in a faulty matter transporter. Occasionally, during an inter-mission base-wander, an important man will smoke a cigarette during a briefing or somebody refer to a female officer as a broad, but otherwise the XCOM staff could be almost anytime and anyplace.

There are a few evocative touches, such as the NASA-like control room, with ticker tape computing devices, but a menu or the antfarm cutaway of Enemy Unknown, would be a more pleasing solution to the game’s thin management portion. Hiring and equipping take place on a simple screen, but chatting to science and engineering personnel involves running around the base, occasionally spotting a speech bubble floating over somebody’s head and wondering if they have anything interesting to say or will simply repeat their usual spiel.

Alas, Poor Yori...who stole the skull?

On the whole, the dialogue would be best flashed from memory using Will Smith’s Scientology stick. There’s a bracing early scene in which Carter finds that his new office mate (the surface is in such disarray that agents sleep together in the office, presumably under their desks) knows everything about his dark history. That’s because he’s read Carter’s file and THAT’S because all XCOM agents read each others’ files, because the better they know each other, the better they’ll work in the field. Well, OK, but probably not if your file has a comment attached to it, by Hoover, saying this:

“This one’s aggressive, temperamental and defensive…I don’t recommend him…the man used to be a hero but now he’s busy destroying himself…he’s not useful for much anymore except as an expendable asset.”

Everybody knows that now. Everybody knows that Carter is a massive wanker who might be useful for a suicide mission but isn’t much cop for anything else. And then they find out he’s the guy they’ll be taking orders from when they go up against an army of aliens with superior technology. Vigilo Confido indeed.

I know several aliens who have died of exposure but very many more who have died from a lack of it

There are a few strong beats during the story that suggest a stronger experience could be teased out of the raw ingredients. A conversation that muddies the line between immigration and invasion grabbed my interest, though it’s a strand without a satisfying conclusion, at least at the point I reached, having abandoned the fight shortly before the game’s conclusion.

It’s the repetitive nature of the combat that is the game’s undoing. Different sets of scenery, fresh skills and new equipment – packs, which provide various buffs, grenades and guns – fail to distract from the unchanging nature of the missions. Start, walk forward, engage and eventually encounter a mini-boss battle or wave-like defense task. Squad management doesn’t have the necessary depth to maintain interest throughout the campaign either, despite the fact that engineers can wear pink overalls.

Agents outside the main squad can be sent to carry out optional missions, which is a useful idea, though undercooked. As long as their combined level matches the mission difficulty they simply succeed and bring back a reward. There are occasional choices of skill, as in the new Enemy Unknown, but agents feel like functional objects rather than potential heroes. Even during a mission, should one die, a replacement can be beamed in at the next restock point, where ammo replenishment and equipment swaps are also carried out.

Here, I have a pistol. It will not help against Mutons

Then there’s the lack of a save function. Missions have checkpoints but one particular Sectopod battle that takes place after a couple of other encounters didn’t save my progress beforehand, meaning every failure meant replaying the same fifteen minutes over and over again. When so much of the game already feels like replaying the same fifteen minutes over and over again, that is an undesirable system.

The Bureau’s most disappointing aspect is its lack of thematic cohesion. It’s part Independence Day and part Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, with very little of the intriguing investigative horror of that trailer, so recently reappraised. The black silicoid blobs make an appearance, as both enemies and pets, bobbling around like angry tumbleweed. Infected human ‘sleepwalkers’, drooling and weeping ichor, are a high point, sinister versions of Alan Wake’s enemies, trapped in behavioural and speech patterns. But the smaller horrors sit alongside giant purple spires, pulsing with plasma energy – sights that can’t be scrubbed out of history with a black marker pen.

The explosive barrel is in rude health

To play, it’s a serviceable exercise that lands in an odd middle ground between genres. It’s closest relatives are probably Mass Effect and Brothers in Arms, though lacking the good bits of the former and the enjoyable Hollywood historicity of the latter.

I’m almost convinced that there’s a good game in here somewhere, incubated for too much time or not for time enough. Opening mission aside, The Bureau isn’t terrible, but it comes across as a collection of small ideas without a unifying hand to make them whole, or to jettison the worst of them. Not terrible, but a failure in almost every way that matters.

Games often take up a place in my landscape of interests, even if I don’t particularly enjoy them. They have some points of interest that become useful for future navigation. Apart from its (enforced?) connection to XCOM, The Bureau may not. In a month’s time, where will the memories be? In truth – erased.

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94 Comments »

  1. OpT1mUs says:

    But is it more X-com than X-com Enforcer? heheh

    • Doganpc says:

      Read Stapleton’s review… its not even XCOM and the parts they mashed in to make it relevant to XCOM just clashed with any established XCOM lore/logic.

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  2. Dethnell says:

    Brothers in Blood? Is that supposed to be Brothers in Arms? Anyway, While I don’t normally agree with Mr Walkers (née Smith) opinions on video games. I say he’s conveyed most of my fears about the game, and it shall be one I no doubt pick up in a Steam summer sale…

  3. Commissar Choy says:

    So….7/10?

    But seriously, I think this turned out better than most of us figured it would, i.e. an abomination that killed everything everywhere.

    [E] Yikes, it’s getting slammed everywhere, I take it all back.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I’d be surprised if many (any?) people read all of the words above and thought, ‘this sounds like something that is worth my time and money’. That’s what a seven means, right?

      • Commissar Choy says:

        From what I understand, yes ;) but I was referring to the “being an abomination killing everything everywhere.”

      • Commissar Choy says:

        Sadly yes, Polygon gave it a 7 even after a seemingly damning review of their own. Alas, my precognitive powers prove to be a curse yet again.

        • HadToLogin says:

          There’s a reason why every gamer now knows that
          1-6=1
          7=2
          8=3
          9=4
          10=5.

          • godgoo says:

            joystiq gave it a 4/5. So it’s a 9. I’m confused, it’s almost as if number scores are irrelevant!

          • Commissar Choy says:

            Doesn’t 4/5 = 8/10?

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Game Critic Math.

          • nindustrial says:

            4/5 is an 8/10, so by the above scale, that 8 means it’s a 3. And by it being 3/5 it means it’s average, so… it’s a 7/10, right?

          • Stitch says:

            My head spinning with all the Mathe … >.<

        • skullBaseknowledge says:

          7/11?

        • Baines says:

          A 7 from Polygon? Must mean the game has no visible breasts to bring its score down.

          Polygon is apparently one of the sites that determines score by committee, and thus the score may only be loosely related to the review text.

          I wonder how common the practice of “score by committee” actually is, as I’ve heard that different sites used that scheme over the years. Often when trying to defend why their posted scores don’t match the review text. Even when it isn’t a score chosen by committee, it may be an editor replacing the reviewer’s score with their own. (I recall one game reviewer who complained when his review wasn’t just edited for space, but was edited to fit a completely different score, because the editor has a rather different opinion than the reviewer.)

    • jalf says:

      But seriously, I think this turned out better than most of us figured it would, i.e. an abomination that killed everything everywhere.

      Huh, no, for me this sounds about what I expected: kind of aimless, with no cohesion or focus, just stuck together over 3 or so years as a mix of what happens to be popular at the time. In other words, it pretty much reflects the muddled development history of the game (remember when you were supposed to be fighting weird geometric shape aliens? But then XCOM EU became big, so they retrofitted some sectoids into it. And rather than sticking with the investigative angle promised early on, eh, those cover-based shooters-with-rpg-elements are getting real popular, we should be more like them”.

      It doesn’t sound *bad*, just bland, unnecessary and forgettable. Which is pretty much what I would have expected.

  4. SAeN says:

    I say this every time this game comes up, but the original detective style game they initially pitched was one of the most interesting concepts I’ve seen. Shame to see that dream melting into a sub-par Mass Effect clone.

    • JR says:

      To be fair I am finding this more enjoyable then Mass Effect 3.

    • battles_atlas says:

      What SAeN said. There was such a great concept in here, by which I mean a setting and a mood that gaming hasn’t rehashed a million times already. Somewhere – probably starting with the ridiculous decision to try to brand it as XCOM – it got very lost. Be interesting to hear the accounts of the original team at some point, if they emerge. I still want to play the game that was hinted at back then

      • belgand says:

        And that decision to brand it as X-COM is what turned most of us against it in the first place. It was only once EU was successful and the safety of X-COM as a turn-based strategy game was secured that we were able to let our guards down. Before then it felt like they were going to pull something like the new FPS Syndicate or Shadowrun.

    • realitysconcierge says:

      I remember reading about it first a long long time ago in an exclusive game informer article. You had your own upgrade-able base and everything was really mysterious in game.

    • Bhazor says:

      I’m of the opinion that game never existed. All that was a shown was a small handful of scripted sequences shown behind locked doors. My guess is that the team’s ambition far out stripped their means and in practice found the investigation element unworkable.

      • fdisk says:

        I think it’s a case of a nother Studio hitting it big and having its balls chopped off. Once XCOM EU became the unexpected hit it was they re-worked that game into this mixed genre mess which never works.

        They should have grown a pair and released that original idea as a new IP and everyone would have been happy.

        Once a studio gets too big they can’t take risks anymore because it jeopardizes everyone’s jobs. That’s why indies are taking over most gamers’ hearts, they have the nothing to lose capacity to do different things without consequence.

        Every single game (XCOM EU aside) that I have truly enjoyed and left a lasting memory in me in the last year has come from a small and/or indie studio.

    • Buffer117 says:

      I’m with you, I was so excited the first trailer I saw for this game as a FPS with 1950′s X-files like gameplay, it really looked like something taking the XCOM concept and trying to do something different with it and different to every other generic shooter.

      I never understood the outcry that killed this game, even less so why they didn’t just say straight away that XCOM:EU was in development to appease all the internet madness.

      The saddest thing is this is gamers fault, those who went in meltdown created this half baked generic crap from an interesting original concept. I loved the original XCOM, I love the reboot, but I’m so angry that this game has become what it has.

      • Distec says:

        How exactly can you blame gamers (or specifically X-COM fans) for the state of this title? They didn’t make the game. It’s not as if the publisher or developers were chained to the fans’ wants. Indeed, the fact that they showed an FPS with a thin, surface relationship to a beloved strategy series shows they didn’t seem to think they were.

        If you’re suggesting that the vocal backlash against the game’s unveiling was responsible, I would counter that the creators’ poor PR and marketing should be assigned much of the blame. You have to remember that there was scant or no evidence of an X-COM in the vein of the originals. You even had the CEO of 2K Games saying that strategy games weren’t contemporary and therefore wouldn’t sell. Meanwhile, fans were watching other beloved classics getting morphed into shooters with that same kind of thinking. Were people supposed to be happy about this crap? No, I don’t think so. I think the negativity was a long overdue reaction to a market trend that execs pretty much made up out of thin air to justify their homogenized product lines. And so, their first mistake was disrespecting or at least underestimating their audience. If they wanted to make an interesting, unique shooter with clever concepts, they shouldn’t have thrown the unrelated XCOM name onto it. Very simple.

        But even all that is kind of a sideshow. I think 2K Marin had the potential to make a great game that listened to fans and “honored” the X-COM legacy. I also think they could have completely disregarded fan concerns and still made a great game that would have at least been met with grudging acceptance ala Fallout 3 or Human Revolution despite their arguable “purity”. But that game is not here. The ever-changing appearance of the The Bureau seemed to betray a game that was driven by market whims, not a focused vision. Totally their fault.

      • Lusketrollet says:

        I’m with you, I was so excited the first trailer I saw for this game as a FPS with 1950′s X-files like gameplay, it really looked like something taking the XCOM concept and trying to do something different with it and different to every other generic shooter.

        I never understood the outcry that killed this game, even less so why they didn’t just say straight away that XCOM:EU was in development to appease all the internet madness.

        ^ This.

  5. webwielder says:

    Shouldn’t have fired Jordan Thomas.

    I don’t know whether to be mad at the Internet for raising such a fuss over the XCOM name being used to make an FPS or at 2K for not sticking to their guns, but it’s obvious that this game is a result of compromise and placation, rather than a singular, bold vision. That FPS looked awesome. I want to play that.

    • Mitthrawn says:

      Agreed. looked awesome, and more importantly, unique, gameplay-wise.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Reading this article at VGA247 http://www.vg247.com/2013/08/19/the-bureau-xcom-declassified-was-announced-too-early/ it seems like they had absolutely no overall vision for the project at all.

      It reads as if they just got a hold of the franchise license and ended up trying anything they could with it. IF they had a design bible for it then it must have been the flimsiest, vaguest ‘guide’ imaginable.

      The article is basically damage control for the criticism they’ve received over their flip flopping, but I feel their article does more damage to their rep than their final game design ever could. Not very impressive for so called professionals.

    • HadToLogin says:

      I think that FPS was never in real-making, it was more of a “tech-demo” or preview just to get people know Xcom is being made and get internet raging, so they could announce TBS Xcom and get praise for listening to fans.

    • Remmoth says:

      They didn’t fire Jordan Thomas. Ken Levine ‘summoned’ him off xcom and to irrational to help with bioshock infinite (yeah, he can do that) and when he finished infinite he told 2K that he was going independent. Which is lame. because I agree it would’ve been great to have his hand in the mix for the last reboot.

      Great article:
      http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/8/19/4614410/xcom-the-bureau-development-2006-2013

  6. Lars Westergren says:

    > The first mission provides accompanying agents with high level powers, which must be earned when forming a new squad as soon as the game proper begins.

    Rather fed up with this, that some games feel they have to start with an epic battle and all powers granted. “Hey power gamers, look what awesomeness lies ahead!”. How about slowly building up mood and setting? But no, like a WW2 shooter we must blow our loads by opening the game at Normandy D-day.

    • ffordesoon says:

      It’s a neat trick in things like Metroidvanias, where the game is built around finding all the power-ups. But you’re right, a lot of games employ it as a sort of apology for starting you at the bottom of the ladder, like the developers are going, “We know the first few hours suck, but we swear it gets better! See!? This is what it’s like at the end of the game! Don’t you want to get back to being awesome like you were just a second ago by playing through our game?”

      It’s like, guys, if your game’s so boring that the only time I get to have fun is when I unlock all the toys in the toybox fifteen hours from now, maybe your game’s no goddamned fun and you should rethink it.

    • Jimbo says:

      This is known as an ‘Abilitease’.

      If you start off with the powers of one of the Dashwood sisters it’s known as a ‘Senseandsensabilitease’.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The only WWII shooters I can remember that had D-Day beach storming missions in them were Medal Of Honor Allied Assault and Call Of Duty 2, and both of those had several missions (in the latter, 2/3 of the game) before you reached that point.

    • belgand says:

      I want a WWII game that starts as a WWI game.

      While some games have pulled this off well it’s tricky. Super Metroid had a good opening level even if it conformed to the stereotype. On the other hand Half-Life went the opposite way and gave you a long, slow narrative opening where not much happens, but you get a chance to acclimate to normality enough that when everything goes to hell later on you’ll be able to appreciate it.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    Thank fuck there are hat physics because I’m seeing fuck all else to bother with here.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Yes, but do the ties blow in the wind, like Lara Croft’s pony tail?

      • Caiman says:

        Ties physics needed CravatFX but it was too processor intensive.

        • belgand says:

          It’s really the customizable pocket squares that make the game though. Tons of collectible pocket squares in the game (with more promised as DLC) and a full editor for you to perfectly customize your fold.

          That said, the way they implemented the CravatFX option with a classy “Tie bar?” menu item was perfect and let the game scale to your system without breaking immersion.

      • ninnisinni says:

        From what I’ve seen so far of this game, Mafia II blows it out of the water both hatphysics-wise AND tiephysics-wise.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Yes, but the big question is whether they leave the hats on the ground while fighting or immediately pick them up again. That’s a potential immersion breaker. Any 60′s agent worth his salt values his hat over his life.

      Also:
      “Basic human functions are available for selection”
      “like a ballerina with sudden and explosive diarrhoea”
      *Chuckles*

      • acheron says:

        Much like 30s archaeologists.

      • Ringwraith says:

        LA Noire did this actually, if your hat got knocked off in a fight, you could go and recover it afterwards.

        • belgand says:

          Not to mention an achievement for not losing your hat in a fight.

          In a way this sound similar to LA Noire: a promising investigation-based game set in an interesting and compelling post-war period ruined by dull, repetitive gameplay and massive, unrealistic body counts.

    • Jimbo says:

      Put THAT on the back of your fucking box, 2K.

  8. Megakoresh says:

    I thought this would be an FPS similar to Bioshock! Well, they screwed that up. Also if someone doesn’t like videogames, how can he be working in videogame press?

    • LukeNukem says:

      It is a slightly ambiguous sentence, but I believe he is saying that even games that he does not enjoy have memorable/redeeming features, whereas The Bureau is so bland that it does not.

  9. JR says:

    Should be noted that the whole “beaming your squadies back at way points” is a difficulty setting. The highest of which only allow you to “stabilize” a downed mate in a mission, meaning you’ll have to continue without him for the rest of the way through.

  10. anark10n says:

    Basic human functions are available for selection

    Well, that had me thinking of even more basic functions than the ones that were listed …

  11. zain3000 says:

    But Adam, you have failed to include the most important piece of information… how much did the game score on the Wang-o-Meter?

  12. apocraphyn says:

    Brilliant write-up, Adam. Probably the most entertaining thing I’ve read on RPS since the days of Quinns and KG. All the images have alt-texts, too! 10/10.

    Shame about the game, though. Guess they couldn’t quite pull off the Mad Effect thing.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Yes, I discovered the alt-text by accident and loved it! Now I’m mainly concerned by the fact that I may have missed a whole bunch of them earlier.

  13. mpk says:

    I’m surprised to see XCOM being called excellent so long after initial release – I’d argue that it was, at best, competent and very, very limited. It’s certainly not a game I’ll ever replay.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Yes, to me it is still a buggy lump of a game that failed to live up to potential. I bought it in the last Steam sale for a bargain and haven’t bothered to finish it. I can’t see why anyone would think it was anything other than an OK game with lots of problems.

      I am pleased that there are no proper saves in this new “X-Com” game so I am not even tempted to buy it. No saves= half-assed console port & should not be supported IMO.

    • Nick says:

      I enjoyed it a lot, but the story, geoscape-lite and lack of randomisation in maps make it a one time play through for me. Which is almost missing the point of the old X-com games and a surprising way to take it. But meh, I liked the combat mechanics, weird bugs and occasional oddities aside, and would be happy to play more. Just wish they hadn’t stripped off so much of the meat for the sake of streamlining.

  14. serioussgtstu says:

    I remember seeing a trailer for this game back in 2010, and the original concept was really inspired. Properly suited G Men tramping about suburban America investigating mad occurrences that no one understood. Housewives would happily assist you, lead you into the house and then explode, transforming themselves to alien tarmac.

    That’s the XCOM shooter I want to play, but luckily Enemy Unknown was good enough to make up for that games disappearance.

  15. DrScuttles says:

    Weirdly I can’t help but be reminded of some alternate universe professionally made Fallout 3 mod by some of the screenshots. But then it hits me that no, it’s the unwanted spawn of this reality.
    That it managed to hit all its 3 vaguely defined sales targets for pre-order rewards on Steam does make me think that sometimes consumers genuinely deserve this shit they keep funding.

    • Panda Powered says:

      Have they ever *not* reached the highest one for any game?
      *smears face in tin foil* Maybe the actual tiers are manually unlocked by the man behind the curtains whether there is a rush to pre-orders or not?

      • DrScuttles says:

        For some time I have been suspicious about the total lack of information relating to pre-order tiers other than ooooh, a coloured bar! But I also hear that this season’s headgear is all about the tinfoil.

      • Nick says:

        Resident Evil Revelations didn’t. Probably because they made the mistake of releasing it after Resi 6.

  16. Bull0 says:

    I agree that at this point I’d probably rather have the original FPS project, but at the time I was super *super* pissed that they were making an FPS with XCOM written on it because I didn’t know there was a strategy game in the works (I don’t think anyone did?). At that point, I’d have thanked 2K for the concessions to tactics/squad combat they were making as respectful of the series’ heritage.

    Now that we’ve had a new XCOM strategy game that was, in my opinion, really good, I’m much more secure about the series and would’ve tolerated the original FPS idea for its’ originality. It’s all about context.

  17. LionsPhil says:

    So it’s no Republic Commando squadwise, then.

    • subedii says:

      Man I wanted to get into Republic Commando, everyone always gushed about it being a cult classic. But the low FoV seriously made my eyes water.

      • Panda Powered says:

        If you still have it, check WSGF’s entry on it. They had instructions for various higher resolutions and FOV’s. Its worth at least one run through. :)

  18. Professor Snake says:

    I’d much rather see the older XCOM horror-ish FPS seeing the light of day instead of this. It had lots of actually interesting concepts. Too bad purists bashed it into oblivion before it was even starting to get properly realized.

  19. Azradesh says:

    I just can’t get over the screenshot of an agent hiding behind *hay bales* for cover from bloody plasma rifles! Hay bales!

  20. Azradesh says:

    I liked the way it looked when it was first shown. It wasn’t XCOM, but at least it looked different.

    Then XCOM was released and for some reason they thought what we liked about the game was all the very generic aliens, so they replaced all the cool and new stuff with those very generic aliens.

  21. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Imagine, if you will, that all the money time and development resources that went into this slightly pathetic mess went into the other XCOM game instead. Gosh, that would’ve made a very good game indeed.

  22. TsunamiWombat says:

    I’m willing to give it a chance. Mostly because I pre-ordered it and I don’t have a choice.

    • S Jay says:

      Pre-ord…*GASP*

      Didn’t you read the memo talking about the game? Here it is:

      “This one’s aggressive, temperamental and defensive…I don’t recommend it…the game used to be a classic but now it’s busy destroying himself…it’s not useful for much anymore except as an expendable asset.”

  23. S Jay says:

    I loved that the word “diarrhoea” comes just before “Basic human functions are available for selection”

  24. kopema says:

    No demo, no play-o.

  25. aphazard1 says:

    When did 3 people become a “squad”? Last year’s XCOM was limited enough with 4 (eventually increasing to 6). But just three agents?

    • Lusketrollet says:

      I will never understand how gaming thinks one can call any random collection of soldiers a “squad”.

      That’s not how it works, people.

  26. Oureeace says:

    This is what I do, they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. ••• I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money http://www.ℤ℮n45.ℂℴℳ •••Phenomenal!
    Enjoy the journey.

  27. Oureeace says:

    too b

  28. kopema says:

    Why does XCOM have to be either turn-based or a twitch fest? Why not just make ONE game that finds a middle ground. Real firefights can last for minutes or hours; they could have made the pace whatever they wanted.

  29. HisDivineOrder says:

    I imagine this game having much the same level of success as Alpha Protocol. Which is to say a decent life once it gets past the “new price” and moves down to far lower pricing to match its flawed nature. Plus some patches.

  30. RegisteredUser says:

    Do not listen to anyone giving this game a positive tone.
    I am reading the 9/10 and 10/10 metacritic user scores and can only think these people have all been bought or are superior trolls.

    The review is putting the disastrously terrible mechanics and overall tedium of the game very politely and doesn’t even begin to mention the uselessness of squadmates(you do a mission with 70 kills, your squaddies will have 1-15) or the fact that since you are the only one doing the heavy lifting without infinite ammo, you constantly run out of said ammo.

    Not a well done third person shooter, and just tacking on XCOM on top of it.

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