The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a tactical shooter played from a third-person perspective. In the game, the player assumes control of Agent William Carter, a field agent who has to defend the US from a hostile extraterrestrial force known as the Outsiders.The Bureau's headquarters serves as the game's hub space where Carter can interact with other people of interest. Using a dialogue tree, players can select different conversation options to talk to other non-playable characters. Players also recruit agents in the headquarters and choose one of four different classes for them—commando, engineer, recon, and support. Each class has different abilities and weapons. For instance, the commando class specializes in direct offensive abilities and rifles, while the engineer class relies on landmines and automatic turrets. Players also choose the recruit's background from six possible options; each provides a minor perk that enhances the recruit's combat efficiency. Recruits can be further customized with different faces and uniforms. In mission areas, players are accompanied by only two recruited agents; other agents stay at the base or are dispatched to secondary tasks.