27 Apr 2013

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

XCOM: Enemy Unknown was one of my most favorite game from 2012, and by far the best turn based strategy game I have ever played. So I was very excited when news of a new XCOM game began surfacing a month ago. Finally 2K games has officially taken of the covers from their new game - The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

The game is set in the 1960s with the backdrop of the Cold War. Unlike the previous games, there is no XCOM at the start, and players take on the role of agent William Carter, who is assigned to The Bureau. Through Carter’s eyes, players will see the “secret story” behind the birth of the XCOM initiative.

“Secret invasion” is the key word in this version. The earlier XCOM shooter stories are all set in a world ravaged by alien invasion. On the other hand, XCOM Declassified gets more secretive, with the all-out global invasion replaced by a more covert assault. It hopefully won’t make a ton of difference on the battlefield, as the idea is still to put players in the shoes of the agents on the field.
With the added twists from the Cold War, keeping the thing a secret from the Russians and other enemies is certainly a part of the game. So part of the story that you’ll be experiencing is how the war is kept in the shadows. How XCOM is started and then slightly hidden from the world until it is needed again.

Other than the jump from first-person to third-person, the game will largely be the same as it was back in 2012 in gameplay terms. You control one soldier on the battlefield – Carter – but you also issue tactical commands to a squad of agents using the game’s new “Battle Focus” interface.

The Battle Focus interface according to 2K is the method to direct your squad and keep yourself alive at the same time. The creative director Morgan Gray explained that “our mission statement here is to move beyond the turn-based isometric God’s Eye View on the battlefield and to put you into the boots of this squad leader, where the bullets are flying in the middle of the mix, having to basically direct your squad and keep your own head from being shot off all at the same time.” Will wait out to see what this actually means in terms of gameplay.

The rest looks to be quite similar, improving soldier skills, researching alien life forms, building advanced weapons and defeating the aliens. At least that is what the fans of last year’s game are hoping.

Will this game developed by 2K Marin outdo the last year’s title developed by Firaxis. Only time will tell. The game releases on 20 August in the US and on 23 Aug in Europe. It will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC platforms for $59.99.

Expect more previews and details over the coming months, providing us with more insight as we move toward this June’s E3. You can watch the teaser trailer below.

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