By the third time around, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. The latest “Call of Duty” video game set a first-day sales record this week, generating $400 million in sales in its first 24 hours in stores. That breaks the record its predecessor set this time last year.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” is the third game in the military shooter series to set such a record. Last year, “Call of Duty: Black Ops” raked in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale. “Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2,” sold 4.7 million copies in its first 24 hours to reap $310 million.

Justin Clouse, reviewing the game for The Escapist website which is based in Durham, gave the game 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is much like its predecessors: a bombastic but brief single player campaign coupled with laser-focused multiplayer,” he wrote.

“Recommendation: Unless you’ve started feeling fatigued by the last few iterations of this series, you should pick up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. There’s enough variety and new features to keep the experience feeling fresh despite being grounded in what’s worked before.”

The latest installment of the game from Activision Blizzard Inc. went on sale at midnight Tuesday in North America and the U.K.

Activision said Friday the game sold 6.4 million units in its first 24 hours.

A rival shooter game from Electronic Arts Inc., “Battlefield 3,” meanwhile, sold 5 million units in its first week in stores last month, making it the fastest-selling game in EA’s history. (Read about overall October industry sales here.)

The figures show there’s a big appetite for big shooter games this holiday season, boding well for their publishers and retailers such as GameStop Corp.

Another major title debuted Friday: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Read TechWireGamer’s first impressions here.

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