The 'XCOM' Files Get Released In 'The Bureau: XCOM Declassified'

August 22, 2013

The XCOM series dates back to 1994, where it first put players in the role of tactically defending earth from an alien invasion. The series has evolved over the years, culminating in last year's excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown which updated the classic series, bringing it to consoles, and a whole new generation of fans. But, have you ever wondered what happened before the first game … the first time the aliens came to Earth? The latest entry in the series, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified hopes to answer that question.

Developer: 2K Marin
Publisher: 2K Games

With titles like BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite under their belt, The Bureau should be a walk in the part for 2K's studio down under. Even with this being their first tactical shooter, this seasoned studio makes it clear why one of the biggest publishers in the industry trusts them with their most beloved franchises.

Set in 1962, XCOM Declassified puts players in the shoes of Special Agent William Carter as he looks to uncovers the truth behind the sudden alien invasion. As a member of Bureau of Strategic Emergency Command you’re asked to investigate and stop these mysterious creatures from taking over the planet. The Bureau is not your normal XCOM game, in that instead of controlling all of the members of your squad from above the battlefield, you're doing it while in the heat of battle yourself. Agent Carter has to command his squad mates on the front lines, providing him support, while keeping themselves alive, or else they’ll all pay the ultimate price, and succumb to the extraterrestrial attackers.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified invades Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows this week at retail, with the later two platforms offering digital download options.

From a gameplay perspective, 2K Marin have demonstrated that they have what it takes to make an enjoyable tactical shooter. Going into battle as Agent Carter, and using his Battle Focus to navigate around board, barking orders at his teammates is both easy and fun - two things that a lot of tactical shooters tend to overlook. As for the story, if you’ve ever spent any time with the XCOM series, The Bureau helps to expand the universe just a bit more, opening it up to even more alien confrontations. While the game is clearly not in the same vein as its XCOM predecessors, Declassified still stands out as a solid title, offering a different take on this beloved franchise, but still keeping true to many of the franchise’s most important themes: strategy, permadeath, and aliens - lots of deadly aliens.

Oh, and alien invasion games set in the 1960s are pretty cool.