What is a game? Sometimes it is all about to play, sometimes just enjoying view and sometimes it is about everything rather than an actual gameplay. In this case The Bureau is a kind of game that has a gameplay. Of course, the gameplay is not as good as XCom series however its real purpose is a little bit different in the first place.
I consider The Bureau as an essential for anyone who loves Xcom series. Because this game is like a documentary of original series. I'll explain why i feel like that. I played the game first time and in very first scene i was like "Oh, what is disturbing me?" At first sight I don't know what it was honestly but afterwards i found out. In the whole game graphics are not so "bad", they are much like irrelevant from each other instead. Trees are like came from Hitman 1 (I'm fan of Hitman series but first game came out 2000 darn it), some textures doesn't even exists but also there are detailed beautiful steam punk backpacks. With all those combines
As soon as i realized graphics are asynchronous, i thought i won't play this game twice, like every other Xcom games. I won't even finish it. I've never been so wrong. I've finished The Bureau third times. I'm fine, i'm still sane don't worry. The thing is, after i finished the game first time i missed it, not the game exactly but the atmosphere it creates. Yes it was the best thing about The Bureau: It has an atmosphere that feels like you time traveled and saw an alternate history; a history of Xcom's foundation.
Agent Carter, well he is a good character. Voice acting is also good as well as overall sounds and musics. Faulke, is one of the best characters for sure. He really gives you that idea "Oh, yes running a facility like that must be only for well educated, well trained, wise and old guy; for a guy like Faulke."
About the atmosphere once again, even though i've never smoke, i love how all the bureau has an smoke cloud through ceiling. With old computers agents work on and smoke in the meantime, it looks like a scene from 50's or 60's detective movies. Both realistic and fantasy comes alive together perfectly.
Gameplay is fair. Sometimes you can find yourself you're running out of every single bullet you have. Hot line of war with aliens never quits to stalk your team. About your team, yes you can upgrade your recruitments, your comrades, and you can lose them in the battle like other Xcom games. Also players can give orders to soldiers during combat which is handy. Maps are good to engage&hide but world is poor, there are lots of lacks in designing.
Main story is good. Player can choose different ends according to their decisions. It makes you wonder what it'll be the next move of enemy. And again, alive characters works like a charm when it comes to main story. Nevertheless i can't say that about backstories too. You can follow backstories by following diary papers. Once you found a diary sequel and you try to finish due to they're not depth, not even a story at all you don't want to uncover another backstory.
To sum up this is an essential for a XCom player, it's a good shot for someone who has the imagination to complete what is missing in the game as graphical and it is bad for causal gamers.
+Atmospheric bureau catches you well.
+Gameplay is engaging.
+Intriguing main story and different ends.
-Graphical concepts are irrelevant.
-World design is lame.
-Poor story background.