Honestly, “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified” is not a bad game. The controls leave something to be desired and the idea behind it seems to mess with the series’ continuity, but so does last year’s “XCOM: Enemy Unknown.” The characters are wooden and there are so many predictable conventions being bandied about that it feels like playing a game made ten years ago.
But maybe that’s the problem. The fact that “The Bureau” has the “XCOM” stamp on it may be making it hard for gamers to see past the flaws into what the game really is: a passable third-person shooter.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it till my dying day, “Bioshock: Infinite” is not a “Bioshock” game, but a game that happens to have “Bioshock” on it’s cover. This branding problem is true of “The Bureau” as well. While it may not have the top-down tactical flash and power of the rest of the franchise, it seems to have the ideas of “XCOM” woven throughout it enough to justify those four letters in the title.
|It’s got a lot of features from previous games. Like, a checklist of them.|
The concept behind a tactical third-person shooter is not new. “Mass Effect” tried to champion it the most with pausing the field and giving orders, mixing combat with casting. “The Bureau” does this, just less effectively. While I have to say that the commands are a little easier to use for me personally, I constantly keep finding myself hitting the wrong buttons and messing up the flow of combat.
While the argument against this is, of course, “just key-map the game, noob,” my counter-argument is this: key-mapping a game on the PC or console should not be done out of frustration, but out of ease and comfort for playstyle. I shouldn’t have to key-map my game because I can’t play it in the default fashion.
That being said, there is a game there and it’s interesting and fun and I’ve enjoyed it thus far. However, I can understand the hate that this is getting from people. It’s unoriginal, it’s not “XCOM,” it’s hard to play and for some it’s disappointing.
What’s to be done, though? What can be learned? That simply making a game with a flagship title in the name does not automatically make it impressive? Well, that’s obvious from multiple sub-par “Final Fantasy” releases (that’s right, I said it).
Companies need to begin to realize that they cannot rest on their own laurels anymore and things may or may not be as simple as they seem. I applaud 2K for trying something out-of-the-box for one of their titles, changing an real-time-strategy game to a shooter. That’s a gamble and it didn’t pay off. But there’s something to be said for leaving things the way they are.
People say the same thing for “Assassin’s Creed.” It’s the same game each time, but Ubisoft tends to add or subtract a feature, and often times that makes all the difference. It could be why people love “Black Flag” so much.
2K tried to be different, and I don’t fault them. I just think they tried doing it with the wrong franchise.