The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Full Spectrum Preview


For the longest time 2K Marin was silent about their contribution to the XCOM universe. Back in 2010, The Bureau was originally announced as a first person shooter, much to the dismay of the fervent turn based strategy audience XCOM had attracted over the years. Several years of silence followed the initial reveal, and it seems that 2K Marin went back to the drawing board to create a true XCOM third person shooter hybrid – The Bureau: XCOM Declassified was born.

Take 2 International is well known for their genius marketing strategies. With the popularity of Mad Men and FiraxisXCOM: Enemy Unknown, it was only logical to take the series back to the origins of the XCOM program – the peak of the Cold War. This particular time in history is a perfect backdrop for whitewashing an alien invasion. Neither side (United States/Russia) knew what each other were fully capable of at the time, and alien technology could easily be written off as “The Ruskies” pulling something during the period.


The subsequent alien invasion has William Carter tasked with suppressing and annihilating the ET occupation. The campaign will play out similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. A persistent map of the United States will act as a tool for selecting missions. Once again it’s your choice where you put your priorities, and the populace will react with panic if your choices result in too much neglect. Permadeath returns, making your every move all the more cautious and calculated, unless you’re willing to live with the consequences of being hotheaded. Commanding your squad precisely and keeping them out of harms way will yield the best results. A new system called Battle Focus lets you slow down the action and issue strategic orders to your squad. Ambushing, flanking, and utilizing your teams specific abilities in the right manner will help you to obliterate your enemies.


The enemies of The Bureau look to be a familiar lot as well. sectoids, drones, and muton’s all look to be present during the event that acts as a catalyst for the XCOM program. While the action isn’t necessarily turn based, the combat will hold a certain strategic feel, reminiscent of Operation Flashpoint and other tactical third person shooters. Take cover behind jilapi’s the size of boats and take on aliens that have crashed what looks to be a homecoming parade. Your arsenal is also period accurate with pump action shotguns, M-1 Garands, and frag grenades. That is, before you start reverse engineering alien tech to use to aid your own cause.

2K Marin was careful to retain the components that make XCOM such a memorable game. Permadeath, class based skillsets, tactical combat, and familiar foes combined with newly designed third person shooter mechanics, a new time period, and the birth of the notorious XCOM program make The Bureau a title worth looking forward to.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified hits Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC August 20th.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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