Today looked like it was going to be a slow news day, until my brother Wesley said that XCOM: Enemy Unknown was available for free on the Humble store. I eagerly checked the website, only to discover that he was wrong. He had confused the massively successful turn-based strategy with its far less successful third-person shooter spin-off, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. After swearing at him for a good few minutes, I redeemed the game. Hey, good or mediocre, it’s still free.

By far the most interesting thing about The Bureau is its origin story. See, before Enemy Unknown proved exactly how much people were pining for hardcore strategy, the XCOM franchise was going to be rebooted as a creepy first-person shooter set during The Cold War. It turned out that people didn’t want the beloved franchise to return like that, so Firaxis Games said “hold my beer and watch this”, and developed Enemy Unknown instead.

So in a way, The Bureau sort of rides on Enemy Unknown’s coattails. It’s a solidly average experience, playing like a bit of a knock-off Mass Effect but with worse dialogue animations and scripting. Still, I played it for a few hours in 2013 and enjoyed it enough. So be sure to head over to the Humble Store and redeem the game within the next 24 hours and pick it up for free.

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