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The Gaming Review - The Bureau

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
Xbox, PS3, PC
Star Rating: 
7 out of 10

An officially sanctioned alien killing spree.

The Pitch: It’s 1962, everyone looks like they belong on the set of Mad Men and there’s a goddamn alien invasion going on. Step into the shoes of William Carter, Day 1 survivor, as he becomes the newest recruit in the alien-fighting special forces branch, The Bureau.

What It Really Is: A hybrid of third-person shooting and real-time(ish) strategy – there’s essentially a time-stop button so you can command your commandos – The Bureau aims to meld the two genres into something cohesive. Unfortunately, while it does excel on both fronts independently - the third person shooting is tight and the controls of the RTS-aspect are fine, but a bit crowded on the controller – putting the two together leaves much to be desired. You may approach a level with lofty aspirations of commanding allies like a seasoned veteran but, after throwing one or two commands at them, it’s just too easy to ignore them and worry about saving your own skin. This is especially annoying when your allies die and don’t respawn mid-fight, though they are easily replaced after each level. The Bureau also takes a stab at fleshing out the story through dialogue as you talk to people, but it quickly becomes apparent that the conversations aren’t worth having and are just a formality standing in between you and your next objective. The end result is a feeling of being a gumshoe in LA Noire but without any of the benefit of learning useful things. We’re here to kill aliens and save Earth. If we wanted to have a meaningless, mildly frustrating conversation, we’d call our mothers, not play video games. Ready-Made Press Blurb: “Screw the collateral damage, The Bureau has us so excited to fight aliens, we hope there’s an invasion in real life.”

Fun Fact: The Bureau is actually a part of the XCOM franchise, though 2K Games seems very reluctant to officially associate the two. The Bureau does take quite a few cues from XCOM, in both the visual and RTS departments, making 2K’s stance a head-scratcher.

Who It’s For: We’re not quite sure. The Bureau blends two vastly different genres with mediocre results. We can’t help but wonder, were there really so many people out there playing games like Mass Effect or Gears of War and saying to themselves, “I just wish this game was more technical and paced slower”? Conversely, were the plodding planners who love XCOM’s turn-based strategy wishing for a strategy game that’s less methodical? Overall, The Bureau will play to a niche of gamers. It’s like a size 17 sneaker; you know it exists, but not many people are asking for it.




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