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IGdood Presents: The Bureau/XCOM Declassified

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Many years back, before Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within was even conceived, 2K Games decided to shoulder the burden of rebooting XCOM.

Unfortunately, that turned out poorly. Extremely. Fucking. Poorly.

Perhaps because Mass Effect was popular at the time, but they decided to go with Third Person Shooter game play with pausing and issuing commands to your squad. For starters, that ran contrary to XCOM at the soul. XCOM was supposed to be a turn based tactical/strategy game. An extremely troubled development cycle didn't help either. At first they wanted to emphasize the investigative aspects of XCOM. You're an agent sent out to investigate anomalies and incidents across the US, document your findings, and turn them in for research when you get back. Then they scrapped a year's worth of development and began anew as a shooter with lots of alien blasting.

More info on it here: http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/8/19/4614410/xcom-the-bureau-development-2006-2013

When the game was first announced, a lot of fans flipped their shit. 1950s? Shooter? Yup, definitely not XCOM. The funny part is that backlash gave Jake Solomon the opportunity to develop XCOM Enemy Unknown to recreate the old games in modern fashion. That one had its own troubled development of sorts, but a far cry from The Bureau's/XCOM Declassified's.

But I took the plunge and played through The Bureau. I ended up really liking it. I like XCOM in general and the lore of the XCOM universe. The game's story wasn't anything unique nor profound, but what appealed to me were the tiny little details. In true 2K and Bioshock fashion, you had to go around to look for bits and pieces of the minutiae that put together the story. Sure, there was a big narrative and some important plot points happen in cutscene, but everything else was up to the player to find.

Also, mixing the clothing and technology of the era with XCOM material in general did make for some unique art designs.

All the screenshots for the playthrough have already been done. Now it's just posting them here so you can take a look. Many people haven't played it due to its reputation, but it's worth the bargain bin price.

The Bureau is also confirmed to be a canon prequel to XCOM EU/EW and XCOM 2. In EU/EW, a certain research file refers to redacted files from the 1960s, which is what happened in the Bureau's ending when the council of Earth decided to erase everything that happened in order to avoid a public uproar.

Link to my XCOM Enemy Within Playthrough: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=44271

Link to my XCOM 2 Playthrough: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=59276

Let's begin.

I didn't originally plan on posting it here so things might seem to have some gaps, but rest assured I screenshotted a lot of the important things and I'll fill it in with what I remember. I don't feel like playing through it again.

So, remember Elerium? Fuel source of the UFOs in EU/EW/2? It's here also, except the humans thought it was from Earth.


This guy is Myron Faulke. He's the Director of the XCOM Project.


Guy on the right is William Carter, the player character. For all he knows he's supposed to deliver a package to Myron Faulke.

For starters, nobody is supposed to open the box. Liaison wants to open it.


Oh shit what is this



It appears something is wrong with you.





Carter gets shot and falls to the ground. A huge flash comes from the box and incinerates the traitor/infiltrayytor/alien/whatever the fuck.


He gets up, finds out his wounds have healed, and resorts to find Director Faulke. Unfortunately the package is now empty.


At the moment he's in a military base established at the location of the discovered Elerium mine.


Well, shit's going south.


NPCs exist to die in front of you to show how dangerous the enemies are. There's low cover and high cover in this game like in the other games.


Carter manages to make it outside, only to see more NPCs die.



Aww, cute little sectoids before they got genetically modified. In the story they're slaves to another species and act as cannon fodder.


This guy survived and manages to hide.


Didn't take pictures of the combat here, but the Sectoids use laser pistols. I guess the aliens didn't research plasma yet at this point in time.


That NPC's name is Nils and he accompanies Carter.


This base is getting blown to hell alright.

Doesn't that look kind of like an Advent gunship?


Unlike EU/EW, you can run out of ammo. It's key to conserve your bullets and to look for more whenever you can.


So Carter used to be some top agent in the CIA. Then something happened and he ended up doing desk work.



Gunning down Sectoids before they can take cover. Enemies take a lot of extra damage if they're not in cover.


A Sherman tank doesn't stand a fucking chance.



Oddly enough, Nils is max level and has endgame skills. That probably means he'll end up killed or something later on.


You really have to pay attention to whom the enemy is targeting. Telling your guys to move while they're being shot at usually ends up with them dead.



Battle Focus is basically a slow-mo button that slows down the game enough that you can make orders. However, it's not a pause so people can die during battle focus mode.


This is a Zudjari. They're the main antagonist of the game. Interestingly enough they're also called Outsiders and somewhat resemble the crystalline Outsider enemies from EU/EW.


Getting shot can knock Carter's hat off. If you remember where it dropped, you can pick it back up when combat's done.


You can only carry a maximum of 2 weapons, and squad members can only use a weapon of their assigned class. Nils is of the recon class, so the only thing he can use is a sniper rifle.


In the other games you're the commander and you get to read research reports and get an understanding of how things work. Not so much here.


Some other guy who isn't Nils joins up with you. I forgot his name already. I think it was Kenny.


Faulke gave orders to find the top brass of the base and to escort them. Well, here we are.



Angela Weaver is a senior agent and Faulke's right hand. She guns down General Deems, stating that he's been compromised and is an alien infiltrator in disguise.

Didn't take screenshots of it, unfortunately.



See the Bioshock resemblance?

That's Barnes. He's the "Big Sky" and operates the Skyranger.


Right now we made it out of the mine and ended up at some abandoned train yard waiting for evac.

Ah that's right, I remember now. His name is Kinney.


When an Agent is down, there's only a limited amount of time for you to save them with a medikit (which is unlimited, unlike ammo) before they die permanently. This bleedout time is not restored upon revival, so if they get downed again the timer will continue from where it left off.


But Carter's a dick, so let's just get out of here.

That's the Skyranger. it still had propellers back in the day.




Annnnd off to XCOM's top secret underground base.

XCOM was originally founded to fight a Cold War gone hot. In the event of hostile takeover of the United States, XCOM was to carry out operations and guerrilla warfare against Soviet forces. Of course, now the goal is against aliens.



Carter can walk around and talk to NPCs. Sometimes they have quests, sometimes they just have info.

Chulski's job is to cover up all incidents of alien attack from the general public. Things that get destroyed are rebranded as car accidents or fuel tank explosions.



You can have up to 2 other agents in your squad.

There's 4 classes.

Commando = Uses submachine guns, generally is a frontline fighter used to draw enemy's attention. Eventually learns skills that deal fuckloads of damage headon.

Support = Uses pistols and machine pistols. Tosses combat stims and is generally used to drive enemies from cover with one of their special abilities that sends off obnoxious energy waves that aliens can't tolerate. Learns skills allowing them to deploy shields.

Recon = Uses sniper rifles. Initially has critical shot. Learns skills that lets them cloak and call down artillery. Also has the best attire, in my opinion.

Engineer = Uses shotguns. Initially has mines. Learns skills that lets them deploy turrets.

Agents have very limited customization options. I think you can change the color of their outfit and maybe their name, but that's all.




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