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For those ready for more, a generous cooperative mode gives one or two players a chance to complete more-detailed missions (collect toxin samples, rescue hostages, etc.) with less flash and arenas to survive against waves of enemies.

But let’s get serious, if I want to hang with partners, I’m jumping into the infinitely more creative and inspired selection of Call of Duty: Zombie maps.

Now let’s touch on multiplayer play. It’s certainly more confining than the grand landscapes of Battlefield 3. Still, it really has set the standard these days for online combat, as up to 18 players fight over 16 maps available for more than a dozen modes (including Kill Confirmed, which requires grabbing dog tags off a fallen enemy) and it never stops entertaining.

Add the ability to build Strike Packages (the evolution of Killstreaks with options to launch surveillance craft and temporarily take control of extra firepower, such as a predator missile, assault drone and V-22 Osprey guns) and a Weapon Proficiency System (arms rank up with use to offer deeper customization), and we are talking months of entertainment — and more as the expected downloadable content begins to flow.

So for a holiday season peppered with games using a first-person shooting combat component, I’m calling it in order of favorites: Rage, Resistance 3, Battlefield 3 and (trumpets, please) the winner by the length of a Remington MSR sniper rifle bullet, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.