EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) is just hours away from the official release of one of the most anticipated games of the year, Battlefield 3. But before its official launch, which is scheduled for Tuesday, the game's walkthrough videos are already making the rounds on YouTube, courtesy of The Media Cows, an online game walkthrough video Web site.

Rivals Activision and Infinity Ward are not far behind and are expected to launch Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on Nov. 8. Modern Warfare 3 is the third game in the series, is a direct sequel to the 2009 game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the eight in the Call of Duty series of games.

What will the games have to offer? Let's take a look.

Battlefield 3, (BF3), as always, will focus on tactical team work. This means that the gamer cannot just run with the gun, looking to kill anyone and anything in the way. The result, almost certainly, will be the character's instantaneous death. The in-game command setup has been slightly customized to give the game a more realistic look, which may or may not be a problem for some gamers. BF3, however, will have the old maximalist combined arms battle that influenced previous games in the series.

Activision and Infinity Ward and their popular Call of Duty series may face further danger, with EA DICE's introduction of the revolutionary Frostbite 2.0 engine.

The engine, projected to deliver more firepower for the game, will include sophisticated destruction, graphics and sound capabilities, compared to previous installments. In addition, EA has introduced a new character animation technology update, known as ANT. This technology made its mark in EA's popular FIFA series and has been adopted for BF3 to give the soldiers a more realistic look.

According to Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian, First-Person Shooters currently account for about 16 per cent of all console video game sales. That number is only expected to increase. The FPS genre, at the moment, is one of the most happening sectors in the video gaming industry and generates nearly $60 billion.

While EA's Battlefield 3 clearly provides more firepower, when compared to Modern Warfare 3, analysts believe that the former will have a hard time competing with the latter. There are questions being raised about the multiplayer capabilities of Battlefield 3, particularly given the bugs that previous games in the series had. As a result, bugs and glitches may be expected in the first week of release.

Apart from that, the introduction of the Battlelog facility could cause further problems for multiplayer enthusiasts. Battlelog is a free cross-platform service, with built-in text messaging and voice communications (VOIP) features, as well as game statistics and the ability to join games that friends are already playing. Do remember that both players will need to be on the same platform. PC gamers may face further problems with Battlelog's VOIP technology.

The PC version of Battlefield 3 will not feature a main menu. Instead the game will be launched, via a Web browser, from the Battlelog Web site. A server browser, however, will be present in console versions of the game. Game modes such as Conquest, Rush, Squad Deathmatch, Squad Rush and, for the first time since Battlefield 1942, Team Deathmatch, have been introduced.

Battlefield 3 will let you play as Staff Sergeant Henry Black Blackburn of the U.S. Marine Corps and Corporal Jonathan Jono Miller, a tank operator, taking part in operations against the PLR, placed at the Iran-Iraq border. You will lead a five-man squad to locate a U.S. squad investigating a possible chemical weapons site controlled by a hostile militia. The game will progress from that location.

At the 2011 E3 meet in Los Angeles, John Riccietiello, CEO of video gaming giants Electronic Arts, said Battlefield 3 was the beginning of the war which was aimed at Activision's Call of Duty series. The war begins in a few hours.