There's a Rainbow 6 Patriots preview in this month's OXM (now available for a bargain-basement price on iTunes). You can tell from the scary short-haired white man on the cover, the one pulling a gas-mask out of his ear. This isn't just any preview, mind - it's a World Exclusive Preview, and you, therefore, urgently need to read it.
But perhaps the idea of a new Rainbow 6 leaves you cold. Perhaps you're wondering whether the series has anything to offer. Guess what? It does. Here are eleven reasons to get excited, features and mechanics that could make Rainbow 6 a (whisper it) Call of Duty beater. Consider this an appetiser - buy OXM 80 for the main course.
1. Distinguishing civvies from terrorists will be hard
The titular Patriots aren't card-carrying terrorist stereotypes - they're aggrieved average Joes and Janes, a little rougher round the edges than your classic innocent bystander, perhaps, but difficult to pick out at a glance. Rather than abandoned nuclear silos and oil rigs, they'll operate from street corners, shopfront crowds, bus shelters, unassuming vans. You'll find yourself in more traditional FPS scenarios at intervals, trading shots without fear of civilian collateral, but telling friend from foe won't always be as simple as spot-the-AK.
2. It runs on the Assassin's Creed engine
Which is immediately heartening, because if there's one thing the Assassin's Creed engine does extraordinarily well it's scope, streaming in a staggering quantity of environmental detail and miscellaneous NPC action per frame. We're big fans of scope in our tactical shooters. We're big fans of scopes, too. Badumtish.
3. You'll swap character perspectives mid-mission
The target footage catapulted us from a hostage's viewpoint to that of a sniper hundreds of metres away. Whose shoes will the game fill next?
4. The action will be more scripted this time
Rainbow 6 began life as a sandbox shooter - a punishing sandbox shooter, granted, where making a wrong turn could make the difference between a service medal and a funeral, but a sandbox nonetheless. Patriots aims to be more of a story-driven game, which means that certain twists will be outside your control. Example: you can't save that woman in the taxi cab later in the trailer. Sorry love.
5. "We are matching the competition in terms of overall features and systems"
Thanks to creative director David Sears for this little revelation, who also notes that "a lot of the things that Rainbow 6 has done in the past have been adopted by our competition". Here's a part-confirmed, part-speculative feature list: the multiplayer component will focus on teamplay and player-versus-AI, but will offer a deathmatch variant; there will be leaderboards; there will be a progression system with unlockable weapons and perks; there will be a Spec Ops style two player mode suite, for more intimate co-op play; you'll get customisable emblems, profiles and the like.
6. It'll be "radically different" to Call of Duty and Battlefield
This should be readily apparent from the announcement video, in which Rainbows move as one to take down perps, manoeuvring under fire with guidance from team-mates rather than trying to out-draw attackers. Where even Battlefield rarely punishes you outright for spraying and praying, the optimum bullet-to-kill ratio in Patriots is 1:1. You don't want to wing a civilian, or slot a guy holding a pressure-activated remote detonator, or advertise your activities unduly. Think before you shoot.