Three anticipated titles were released in North America on Tuesday and are now available in the UK and Europe. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified blends classic XCOM isometric strategy with a third person shooter, Saints Row IV is as over the top as ever and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist is heralded as ” the best game in the series since 2005’s Chaos Theory” in IGN’s review.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is receiving some mixed reviews from critics. Its metacritic scores across all three platforms, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 sits comfortable in the sixties. Justin McElroy at Polygon gives it a 7/10 and concludes:
“The underutilized XCOM base is an appropriate metaphor for The Bureau itself. Limitless possibilities for intrigue, tactics, mystery and terror appear to be on offer. But The Bureau keeps most of it to itself, leaving only scraps and the grunt work of killing aliens. That may be an amusing way to kill 10 hours or so, but it’s a long way from a memorable one.”
Saints Row IV is receiving generally positive reviews and Jordan Mallory at Joystiq gives it a perfect score, 5/5 and said: ” Every single thing in Saints Row 4 is worth doing, which is a huge accomplishment on its own, but its story missions in particular are inventive, hilariously unexpected examples of truly inspired game design.”
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist is also receiving generally positive reviews and Ryan McCaffrey at IGN gives it a 9.2/10 and states ” I’m going to be playing this for weeks, if not months, just as I did in Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory… Splinter Cell is back on the right shadowy track.”
As an XCOM fan, I was hoping for better critic reviews for The Bureau and may wait a while before picking it up. I am surprised by the glowing reviews for Saints Row IV. I’ve only spent a couple of hours playing Saints Row: The Third and in that time I made an avatar with two blonde pigtails, like me, skydived out of a plane, wrecked a friend’s very shiny beautiful bike by wrapping it around a tree whilst I was yelling at him for driving over pedestrians, explaining the morality of a sentence I say many a times a day to my two year old – “just because you can doesn’t mean you should, or in this case have to”. I never have enough time and as I think about the games I still desperately want to finish, Saints Row IV shoots to near the top of my list. Tom Chick at Quarter to Three gave it a perfect score and John Walker over at Rock, Paper Shotgun tagged it as “one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.” Glowing reviews indeed.
I played and enjoyed Splinter Cell: Conviction and particularly enjoyed the co-op campaign that had a great ending. I struggled with the game mechanics quite a bit and died frequently, but persevered nearly to the end as I was enjoying it enough to keep me playing. The positive reviews for Blacklist does make me want to play as Sam Fisher again. The story is generally dismissed as very weak, “In a year where homicidal gameplay has felt at odds with storytelling, Blacklist is at least coherent”, said Tom Bramwell in Eurogamer’s review, “But when the game clicks, which it does often enough across its many modes and missions, it overcomes the inadequacy of its storytelling and reminds you why Splinter Cell was so appealing in the first place”.
Three titles to choose from, all available today, so plenty to play this bank holiday weekend.