BY BLAKE BILLMAIER, Webmaster

If you have been watching television on pretty much any channel you have undoubtedly seen ads for countless video games. As game developers rush to get their games out for the pre-holiday season, it seems as if every Tuesday these past few months has had two or three blockbuster releases, some of the biggest being shooters.

The two big shooters this year are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (CoD) and Battlefield 3 (BF3). Yes, fanboys, I know Halo Anniversary is out this week and I am intentionally ignoring it. The major release of both BF3 and CoD so close together in such a saturated genre has caused many geeks and gamers to take to the interwebs and YELL IN CAPS LOCK about which game is better.

I have spent a significant amount of time with both games, both online and off, and found what many game critics claimed months before the releases–Call of Duty is Call of Duty. The “new” game is really just Modern Warfare 2 remade by a new company. There does not seem to be any significant improvement between Warfare 2 and 3. In fact, I would say they took a few steps back from Black Ops.

The new weapon upgrade and customization menu feels too rigid. For example, if you want to use the M-16 with a red dot sight and the extended mag attachment, you can’t simply go to the M-16 and check a box like you can in Black Ops.

I actually can’t tell if this is MW2 or MW3?

Instead you go to “choose gun,” “choose type,” “choose attachment,” “choose sight,” “choose x,” “choose y,” “camo,” and so on. What should have been a quick switch between rounds often took longer than the time the game keeps players in the lobby. I often found myself having to back out in order to pick out my guns, kill-streaks, and perks.

BF3’s menus and customizations feel much more fluid and quick.. You can access your setup between lives so that you can make adjustments on the fly to react to your enemies’ weapons and strategies. This comes in handy when the other team collectively switches to snipers and you need to trade out your C4 for a mortar to begin raining lead safely from behind a building.

As far as game play goes, you get what you ordered. Call of Duty is what it is, you run around lone-wolf style, killing enemies on small to medium sized maps. It is as fun as it is intense.

Modern Warfare 3 also introduced a few new game modes. One that I am particularly fond of is Kill Confirmed, which requires you to pick up dog tags left behind by fallen enemies.

Battlefield 3 plays like a traditional battlefield game. It feels like a new, shiny version of Battlefield 1942. The game play is team based, with traditional conquest style seeming to be the crowd favorite. The new game mode, Rush, is a game of attack and defend.

In Rush, the attacking team must arm bombs on two M-Com sites to complete a stage. Each level in Rush is very large, with 3 or 4 stages per level. Games of Rush typically last about 45 minutes from start to finish, but a decent defense can shut a game out in about 10.

Battlefields major blow to Call of Duty is the new Co-op mode. In Co-op, you and a buddy take on levels that seem to be parallel to the campaign. Each level takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on skill level. By doing Co-op missions, you can unlock weapons that are otherwise impossible to earn.

They are both amazing games. They are full of beautiful environments, symphonies of explosions worthy of a Michael Bay film, and enough hot lead to keep us warm through the winter holidays. Personally though, I have to tip my hat to Battlefield 3. The completely destructible environments add a new layer and strategy to the feeling of battle. There is nothing like blowing up a wall above your enemies and watching the debris fall to kill them. Battlefield really went beyond the Call of Duty.

Final scores: Battlefield 3: 9/10, Modern Warfare 3: 8/10.