Zero Punctuation: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

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It kind of feels like 2K had poured so much money into the game that by the time the backlash happened and Enemy Unknown got released and loved that they still had to release declassified to earn their money back. I kinda see two executives from 2K talking about "Just get it out so we can break even and forget about it. Then get back to work on Enemy Within."

kiri2tsubasa:
It seems I am again in the minority that genuinely loves this game.

Nah, I mostly liked it too. The shooting and squad control mechanics were pretty awesome (even if the squaddie AI could use some work), and that whole thing with the Prisoner was fucking amazing. Best twist I've ever seen in a game, especially since it was reinforced by the fact that it's actually in a game.

My only real complaints with it are the frequently-suicidal squad AI and the fact that, as a prequel to Enemy Unknown (which 2k has apparently said it is), it simply doesn't work. It just doesn't fit into the lore at all, to any reasonable degree.

romxxii:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is Yahtzee sounding a bit, er, regional? Normally his accent sounds like RP to me.

It's probably an effect of "It's me job!".

For some reason this episode reminded me of how good the "cartoon" is of this show. Even just the small things. Sometimes the on-screen stuff is even funnier than what Yahtzee is saying.
Oh and that includes the often hilarious end bits :)

Agayek:

kiri2tsubasa:
It seems I am again in the minority that genuinely loves this game.

Nah, I mostly liked it too. The shooting and squad control mechanics were pretty awesome (even if the squaddie AI could use some work), and that whole thing with the Prisoner was fucking amazing. Best twist I've ever seen in a game, especially since it was reinforced by the fact that it's actually in a game.

My only real complaints with it are the frequently-suicidal squad AI and the fact that, as a prequel to Enemy Unknown (which 2k has apparently said it is), it simply doesn't work. It just doesn't fit into the lore at all, to any reasonable degree.

Agreed especially when

I actually enjoyed Bureau. The story was weak although it had a cool twist near the end which really helped. I also fired all of the initial agents I had and made new ones that i named and tried my best to customize; they do at least chat a bit during the missions so I found it amusing. That being said... I immediately put the game on the highest difficulty settings and turned off the silly console auto aim (since I played on PC obviously) and although I died and had to reload plenty of times throughout, I did in the end beat the game without a single dead agent. I ended up with an entire roster full of max rank agents which was kinda silly. All in all it was an amusing game and I'm pretty happy I bought it since my pre-order on steam came with another copy of Enemy unknown to give to a friend as well as all the old XCOM titles (one of which I can give to a friend) and even another copy of Spec Ops (which I gave to a friend). I had my fun with the game but it sure doesn't have the replay value of the original or Enemy Unknown.

Now to hoping that Enemy Within makes the campaign more like the original! I miss feeling like the aliens are actually invading and working against me instead of just waiting around for me to come kill them and hoping I will fuck up enough times that the human race fires me.

Is it wrong that I came out of this review with the word "Emotion" ringing in my head? Emotion. Emotion, emotion, emotion!
image
Oh and Domino's parmesian bites are so yum! They're like pizza bread donut holes, covered in cheese and butter, with optional dipping sauce!
Boy did I go off topic. Ah well. Another game I'm not buying. It just sounds like a really bad version of Resistance Fall of Man.

Yeah I am pleased I didn't buy this, I had heard from other sources (angryjoe) that it was shit always good to get a second opinion though. Plus at least there is an expansion coming out to Xcom: Enemy Unknown now which looks like its shaping up to be good (which Firaxis DLC usually is)

Also you should ask David Bowie about that whole having to follow Freddie Mercury on stage , because he had to at live aid.

Jandau:
The only reason I'm not playing XCOM (the proper one, not The Bureau) right now is that I'm waiting for Enemy Within and starving myself so I can devour it with proper relish once it comes out...

I wish I could have your spine.
I am weak, after seeing reviews on Bureau I started Xcom again
Currently on my 3rd month and Australia has left project, those bloody cowards
I'm pretty sure Yahtzee was somehow involved in all this :D

But wait, if they make a pizza that replaces the crust with pizza, then it still has a crust since the pizza will have a crust; and then you get stuck in this endless loop as you keep replacing the crust with a pizza. @_@

blackrave:

Jandau:
The only reason I'm not playing XCOM (the proper one, not The Bureau) right now is that I'm waiting for Enemy Within and starving myself so I can devour it with proper relish once it comes out...

I wish I could have your spine.
I am weak, after seeing reviews on Bureau I started Xcom again
Currently on my 3rd month and Australia has left project, those bloody cowards
I'm pretty sure Yahtzee was somehow involved in all this :D

I'm trying to be strong and resist as well. Not sure if it'll work but I'm trying my best.

As for the Bureau, I was at the Saints Row 4 midnight release and the Bureau was also being released that night. The guys at Gamestop got a copy out and played it from about 10pm till 11pm and let us waiting try it out too.

I wasn't impressed so I just shrugged and said "Bout what I expected."

Stabby Joe:
Many seem to think that Enemy Unknown was a reaction to the initial backlash towards the Bureau, then known as just XCOM yet I've heard the developers saying the former was in development prior to the negativeness while admitting that it could look like the opposite at first. Plus if you think about it, it doesn't make sense for a reactionary churned out product to be one of the best games of that year when saying it out loud.

I give Firaxis more credit than that... and more than the Bureau...

Enemy Unknown was actually in development years before the FPS, according to Jake Solomon (lead director on Enemy Unknown, was basically the guy who pushed for a reboot in the first place). According to him 2k's initial plans were to release the FPS to get people back into XCOM, and then release the Firaxis turn-based project (probably had something to do with fears that a decade old DOS game reboot wouldn't sell). That plan obviously did not take consumer demand into account.

DrRockor:
What I took away from that review is that Yahtzee whats a stack of 11 pizzas

Years from now, when someone asks me what this game was about, all I could say is that it was shite and when yahtzee was done playing it he ate 11 pizzas

An eleven pizza combo?
Sounds like that Wendy's "T-Rex" 9 patty thing that was on the news here once, or was it 14 patties?
I think 14 because "Yeeeehaaawwwww!".

Yahtzee:
...I hate this notion that a mixture of turn-based and real-time gameplay will somehow end up being the best of both worlds...

Why Yahtzee you handsome pizza pillaging rogue, How could we forget about X-Com: Apocalypse. A game that had one of the most well-defined real-time/turn-based combat system hybrids that allowed for dynamic switching between the two while not bogging down the gameplay. An extremely well-done combat implementation for an X-Com game that only fell short due to the shortcomings of a few unpolished areas in the game surrounding it.

If I wasn't desperately clinging to the false hope that one day people would see the genius of the systems in that game and maybe attempt to emulate them in the future, I probably wouldn't be pushy about this issue. I am merely doing it now because every one of these false turn-based-action games that crashes and fails causes the rich legacy of Apocalypse to further fade away and be remembered as little more than part of a franchise that is struggling to maintain relevance with only periodically successful releases.

The idle waiting animation during socializing wheel dialog sections of the game annoyed the hell out of me almost more than the horrendous squad AI. The fist-pumping suggesting the person is tosser made me laugh so much and I agree 100%....

Farther than stars:
Well... 'Bureau' does imply a government office in the way that 'office' does not.

Well a government office is more of a 'Ministry' though.

This is a game that I am putting in the "advertising was a lot better than the game" bin. The web series they made was somber, intense, with interesting charactization bits, and caused real emotional reactions from me. This game? They pulled a repeat of te Kane Lynch gamespot fiasco.

To be honest, I think I really would have enjoyed an XCOM FPS, but not like this. I know the idea is that you're going to be regularly throwing rookies to the wall and only the ones with luck or talent will stick, but it's a mechanic that just doesn't work well when you're trying to immerse people in something like an FPS. You give about as much of a toss with one of your squad dying as you do with any of the green-shirted redshirts in the WW2-era Medal of Honor games.

I'd much rather have something like the Mass Effect setup, where each squadmate is given personality, or better yet, Republic Commando, where your most constant companions are precisely three distinct squadmates given time to be characterized and sympathized with, and when terrible thing happen to them actually makes you feel something. It also doesn't hurt that my squads in Republic Commando and Mass Effect seemed to have fewer problems with dying than XCOM rookies, but I'm not sure if that's a factor of the setting or the AI.

Cecilo:

Right, But thats the point, You can have a squad of 4 to 6 people, and you as the Director have no personal relationship with them, You order them around on the battlefield, you may grow attached to certain characters over time because Colonel Johnson managed to kill four aliens at in one mission, saved Private Tom's life with a medpack and was hospitalized for a month. They make their own stories, and you will usually remember and feel bad when you lose someone you have had since so and so mission.

But the point in The Bureau is that you are on the field, with these two agents, fighting with them, alongside them. And you probably wouldn't even know their names, you don't interact with them outside of the combat missions, And once they die, everyone, even you goes "well. Who wants his spot on the squad?". Sure they level up, and you'll be sad if you have to level a new guy from level 1, but for a squad you are a part of, shouldn't there be a little bit more?

Since XCOM's squads have always been just bunch of faceless goons with no personality whatsoever and no reason to be attached to at all throughout the entire history of the IP, I'm not sure why it's such a big problem that it's the same with this game. All the so called "attachment" to these squad members that the players always seem to talk endlessly about when mentioning this series is just a bunch of imagined qualities put into those squad members by the players to give value to what is otherwise just some generic expendable units that in any other game the player would be sacrificing by the carload without ever giving them a second thought.

rembrandtqeinstein:
Showing my age but did anyone play XCOM Interceptor?

Yep! I enjoyed it, too! I was too young to really understand what was going on, though.

immortalfrieza:

Cecilo:

Right, But thats the point, You can have a squad of 4 to 6 people, and you as the Director have no personal relationship with them, You order them around on the battlefield, you may grow attached to certain characters over time because Colonel Johnson managed to kill four aliens at in one mission, saved Private Tom's life with a medpack and was hospitalized for a month. They make their own stories, and you will usually remember and feel bad when you lose someone you have had since so and so mission.

But the point in The Bureau is that you are on the field, with these two agents, fighting with them, alongside them. And you probably wouldn't even know their names, you don't interact with them outside of the combat missions, And once they die, everyone, even you goes "well. Who wants his spot on the squad?". Sure they level up, and you'll be sad if you have to level a new guy from level 1, but for a squad you are a part of, shouldn't there be a little bit more?

Since XCOM's squads have always been just bunch of faceless goons with no personality whatsoever and no reason to be attached to at all throughout the entire history of the IP, I'm not sure why it's such a big problem that it's the same with this game. All the so called "attachment" to these squad members that the players always seem to talk endlessly about when mentioning this series is just a bunch of imagined qualities put into those squad members by the players to give value to what is otherwise just some generic expendable units that in any other game the player would be sacrificing by the carload without ever giving them a second thought.

I think part of the reason why some people get attached to the squad memebers in XCOM: EU and "characterize" them is because they are actually the ones kicking ass and taking names. In the Bureau, its mostly you who is kicking ass and your quadmates are just there to lend the occasional assistance and act as decoys to draw enemy fire.

I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense, but for some odd reason there's something about how EU makes the squads the "focus" of the game that makes me want to characterize them and give a damn about them.

One thing to consider is that squad members in XCOM EU are far more valuable than the ones in the Bureau. As i mentioned before, in EU they do everything and in the Bureau its you who is doing most of the heavy lifting. Its probably far more troublesome to replace 1 squad member in EU than it is to replace 4 squadmates in the Bureau. Perhaps its this "value" EU squad member posses that makes people give a damn about them.

Once again sorry if this all just seems like gibberish to you, I'm kinda having a hard time explaining the reasoning behind this.

I think it's fine for a game series to try new things. I see The Bureau more as a spin off, with the 2012 reboot as the main series. Even if that's not the case, I don't see why the two series shouldn't be able to coexist.

I have to inform you all: Dominos will not make you 11-high stack of pizzas. The ovens are not tall enough.

I have to say I take great offense to something Yahtzee said. I think it was callous and cruel to imply that Freddie Mercury is dead, because there are people all over the world who believe they're Mr. Mercury. How dare Yahtzee insult this group of people, however small, by implying that they don't exist anymore? I would like a written apology in next week's Extra Punctuation column as well as for him to change that highly offensive and disgusting joke in the video. Please, Yahtzee, you have so many fans, and we can't stand to see you hurt people's precious, precious feelings.

immortalfrieza:

Cecilo:

Right, But thats the point, You can have a squad of 4 to 6 people, and you as the Director have no personal relationship with them, You order them around on the battlefield, you may grow attached to certain characters over time because Colonel Johnson managed to kill four aliens at in one mission, saved Private Tom's life with a medpack and was hospitalized for a month. They make their own stories, and you will usually remember and feel bad when you lose someone you have had since so and so mission.

But the point in The Bureau is that you are on the field, with these two agents, fighting with them, alongside them. And you probably wouldn't even know their names, you don't interact with them outside of the combat missions, And once they die, everyone, even you goes "well. Who wants his spot on the squad?". Sure they level up, and you'll be sad if you have to level a new guy from level 1, but for a squad you are a part of, shouldn't there be a little bit more?

Since XCOM's squads have always been just bunch of faceless goons with no personality whatsoever and no reason to be attached to at all throughout the entire history of the IP, I'm not sure why it's such a big problem that it's the same with this game. All the so called "attachment" to these squad members that the players always seem to talk endlessly about when mentioning this series is just a bunch of imagined qualities put into those squad members by the players to give value to what is otherwise just some generic expendable units that in any other game the player would be sacrificing by the carload without ever giving them a second thought.

I think its because they're comparing it to Mass Effect's squad members. Like Yahtzee said, this game is basically a Mass Effect clone with a infinitely crappier story and shitty characters. Now think - what are the best features of Mass Effect? Hint - its not the combat.

Zetatrain:
I think part of the reason why some people get attached to the squad memebers in XCOM: EU and "characterize" them is because they are actually the ones kicking ass and taking names. In the Bureau, its mostly you who is kicking ass and your quadmates are just there to lend the occasional assistance and act as decoys to draw enemy fire.

I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense, but for some odd reason there's something about how EU makes the squads the "focus" of the game that makes me want to characterize them and give a damn about them.

One thing to consider is that squad members in XCOM EU are far more valuable than the ones in the Bureau. As i mentioned before, in EU they do everything and in the Bureau its you who is doing most of the heavy lifting. Its probably far more troublesome to replace 1 squad member in EU than it is to replace 4 squadmates in the Bureau. Perhaps its this "value" EU squad member posses that makes people give a damn about them.

Once again sorry if this all just seems like gibberish to you, I'm kinda having a hard time explaining the reasoning behind this.

I have to agree. When you lose a high ranked squad member in EU it can be soul crushing. You've seen this character evolve into a badass, and you'll have memories of them pulling off epic takedowns or succeeding against the odds. Also you have the fact that it took a lot of effort to rank them up and now you've lost an extremely powerful unit. So there is a gameplay cost as well as an emotional one.

I would eat the shit out of that pizza.

Also, I loved the "two kinds in a coat" joke.

Ryan Hughes:

You can send them off on non-playable missions Assassin's Creed-style

Correction: Final Fantasy Tactics-style.

Yahtzee will go to his grave before saying something nice about Final Fantasy.

8-Bit_Jack:
I have to inform you all: Dominos will not make you 11-high stack of pizzas. The ovens are not tall enough.

Did Dominos or Pizza Hut invent that pizza made of Oreos and ice cream? Yahtzee may have invented the pizza sandwich made of pizza, but the Oreo Pizza is all American!

Zipa:
Yeah I am pleased I didn't buy this, I had heard from other sources (angryjoe) that it was shit always good to get a second opinion though. Plus at least there is an expansion coming out to Xcom: Enemy Unknown now which looks like its shaping up to be good (which Firaxis DLC usually is)

Also you should ask David Bowie about that whole having to follow Freddie Mercury on stage , because he had to at live aid.

David Bowie's such an awesome dude that way. When he went on tour with Nine Inch Nails (or maybe it was just Trent Reznor), he put his own name under NIN's on the posters.

captcha: one hit wonder
I hope that doesn't apply to the revived XCOM series

Dominos?! EEEEEWWWWW!
And I was under the impression Yahtzee didn't particularly care for Mass Effect.

Pioneering cosmonaut exploring unknown, seemingly abandoned vessel found on the moon.

Cosmonaut: I must find the monsters!

Strange Formless Voice: No, mankind. You are the monsters.

And the mankind were the monsters.

And that is why the Soviets gave up on the moon, burning the related archives (and relations) associated with it. Then a fragment was found and released on the internet, disguised as a rubbish Doom fanfic.

When I first heard about this game I knew right then I'd be giving it a wide berth. Nothing Yahtzee has said makes me regret my decision.

Oddly enough, much to my surprise, I find my Gran was incredibly interested in this game when she heard that the main objective was to mercilessly gun down invading aliens. Then she found out they meant aliens "from space" and was terribly disappointed.

Can't say this is any worse than I expected. Though props for ripping off Mass Effect so thoroughly, I actually didn't see that bit coming.

P.S. Thanks

Anyone else see Gordon Freeman?

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