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The Bureau: XCOM Declassified's Story Declassified

Poor guy, cried right through his mascara. Then he started crying mascara.

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I actually think the original concept for what eventually went on to become The Bureau: XCOM Declassified would’ve made for a pretty cool game… if it wasn’t called XCOM. 1960s X-Files? A story that lures players into its irresistible green glow with both unrelenting mystery and the social/political tensions of the time? I would’ve played that. Don’t get me wrong: I’m incredibly glad that XCOM is back to being all about tactics, but this cut-scene-tastic Bureau trailer just feels generic. Everybody has neat hats, but we may as well be watching Commander Shepard (the boring vanilla male version) get levitated into the air by some unknowable alien force. Old timey hats or not, this just feels a bit, er, old hat.

You’re special! You’re different! You’re BETTER! Rah-rah-rah blah blah blah.

The game itself still looks fun (though I think I still prefer Enemy Unknown’s fully turn-based stylings), but the setting feels like some blindly probing extraterrestrial’s discarded cattle carcass: wasted. Maybe I’m actually way off-base. Maybe 2K’s just choosing to promote Bureau’s more “mainstream”-friendly elements. I’ll withhold final judgment until I’ve seen more, but I’m still a bit worried.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will be out on August 23rd, which is right around the corner. I’m crossing my fingers for something interesting, but I’m far from ready to hold my breath.

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Nathan Grayson

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