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The Bureau: Worth it for about £5
on 29 April 2014
XCOM is a popular RTS-RPG that has recently been revived by previous generation of consoles. It started with Enemy From Within but prior to that game's release there were trailers for The Bureau. That was many years ago and a long drawn out complicated production is generally cause for concern.
However The Bureau is actually a decent game and very enjoyable. I got my copy for £5 including postage with amazon. I feel like I got my money's worth, but I'd be annoyed if I paid full price for it.
The graphics are dated or stylish depending on your stance. I found them stylish and they suited the era the game is based is. Combat is pulled right out of Mass Effect, RPG elements, a squad, cover based shooting. Even multiple choice conversations. All these elements are not as strong as Mass Effect but it does have better controls than the former.
The plot is enjoyable, it is less than standard evil Aliens want to consume the world. There are elements of mystery and intrigue and the sleepwalker npcs are enjoyably spooky! The dialogue is good and again feels correct for the era. The conversation branching is pointless at best. Mainly allowing you to learn more of a situation rather than have any major plot effects. There are some choices that do effect something but they are so superficial they aren't worth thinking over.
Gameplay pacing is good. Missions are rough 1 to 2 hours long with mini missions that take 20 or so minutes. Time back at base takes up the rest of your time and you can engage in some pointless quests for npcs in the base.
Gameplay itself is generally enjoyable but can at times be highly irritating. The AI of your squad is just not there. They are basically turrets that require constant management to be effective. When you master handling your team combat gets easier. Enemy AI isn't anything to write home about either. Combat is made fun purely by the variety of foes and the assortment of powers that friend and foe can wield alike. Powers for allies include a lift, laser turret, mortar strike and combat stims that boost damage.
Controls are tight which is a good thing and the levels are linear with a few nooks to seek extra supplies. Weapons are a mixed bag, as soon as you obtain alien weaponry you seem to stick with it and the game doesn't help you choose your weapons wisely. You have to experiment yourself.
Its a fun game if you can get used to your squads AI, theres not a lot to come back for once completed as the campaign doesnt really branch. Its not amazingly long about 10 to 12 hours. For a long production cycle there isnt enough meat to keep you chewing which is shame.