Unbeknownst to the general population, a covert government organisation called The Bureau is busy investigating and concealing an alien invasion.
The games protagonist, William Carter, is a newly inducted agent into the Bureau. His missions are to bring critical resources (weapon, scientists, etc) back to the Bureau HQ and to find, eliminate and sometimes even cover up the alien threat.
The Bureau’s tactical combat is similar to the third person shooting action of Mass Effect. On every mission, the main character, Agent Carter, is supported by two other squad members, each with their own abilities. The control UI for the squad is done from a control wheel that sets everything into slow motion while commanding each soldier. It is quite satisfying to combine some positional tactics, like flanking enemies and then using the squad’s special abilities, like deployable turrets and critical-hit sniping to dispatch the enemy.
The game espouses the idea of “perma-death” – if any of the squad members die, they are lost permanently – as central to the tension of the game. However, unlike other games in the Xcom universe, the main character cannot die. This means that, strangely, Carter can commit suicide when a valuable member of the team dies and the entire team is respawned from the last checkpoint. This robs the game of any tension.
Also, while some of the character management elements are included, one of the most enjoyable aspects of previous titles is completely eliminated from the game: micro-managing resources and development of the HQ. In the previous games, almost half your time was spent customising and optimising your base.
Unfortunately, the gameplay is incredibly linear and while the combat is enjoyable, it quickly becomes repetitive. The characters and storyline is unbelievable and while it borrows some elements from the franchise, it has almost nothing in common with the previous titles. Overall, this game is huge disappointment and not worthy of carrying the Xcom name.
The good: 60’s ambiance is well done; team control UI is great.
The bad: Bland gameplay; boring action; illogical story; perma-death makes no sense; stupid squad AI.
My rating: 4/10
Reminds me of: Mass Effect, Brothers In Arms