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XCOM-style spy game Phantom Doctrine, explained in three minutes

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Phantom Doctrine is a bit of an enigma. With a secret base you build across a campaign and turn-based combat on an isometric grid, it walks and talks like an XCOM set in the Cold War. But from what we've played, this isn't simply a reskin where sectoids are swapped for Soviets—refreshingly, Russia isn't the bad guy at all, but a secretive group known as The Beholder Initiative.

Instead of soldiers, you build a roster of agent-operatives, who populate a world map filled with enemy agents. Unlike XCOM, both your spies and your enemies can be captured, put under the influence of each other's brainwashing, then released back into the world for later instruction. Perhaps you'll lose track of your Czech agent Wendigo in Kiev, only to have them return to you weeks later at 1 HP, unsure if they escaped bravely or are actually a double agent.

A new video given to us by CreativeForge games explains how espionage and conspiracy-untangling fit alongside the trappings of XCOM—check it out above ahead of Phantom Doctrine's release date of August 14.

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.