Friday, August 30, 2013

Invasion ad nauseum

The Bureau had one thing going for it: the juxtaposition of 50's era paranoia and technology with the outsiders space age weapons and ships. I liked how the initial battles were just extended escape sequences where everyone ran for their lives and most people didn't make it. Only later, after enough alien weaponry had been stolen, did the fights feel more balanced. For the most part they still took place in set pieces that were time period appropriate. There were alien installations here and there, and they were quite boring to look at, but it always circled back around to towns or farms that had either been destroyed or were in the process of being overrun.

Not so for the ending. Instead of making one last stand on the earth our heroes are going to travel to the outsider's home planet, in the process going through more alien buildings that look just like every other video game alien base in every game ever and in the process losing what little it had that was unique. I really hope that there are no playable levels on the alien homeworld because no matter what it looks like it will look like something that has already been done better and all that will be left is a tactical shooter that I have dumbed down to shooter status, and not a very good one at that.

I wonder when the identity crisis for The Bureau began. It is obvious that it went through several versions. I wish they would have stuck with the original idea: a first person game with some shooting, some investigation and a whole lot of psychological horror. Apparently that was too distant from the real X-COM, so more combat and strategy was added and the point of view was changed. It still isn't very good but now it is forgettable. The first version of the game, good or bad, would have been something to talk about. As it is now it is little more than a footnote to the (I am told) superior remake or the original game.

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Speaking or first person horror I really should get around to pre-ordering the new Amnesia. And buying more pants.

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