Even with less hype and fanfare surrounding this year’s Call of Duty, it would seem that only one publisher is willing to go up against Activision’s juggernaut. That publisher is EA with Need for Speed – one of just two big name games out this week.

Reviews of Need for Speed started to surface earlier this week and have been incredibly mixed so far – everything from US Gamer’s 4.5/5 to VideoGamer’s 5/10, with plenty of 6/10s sandwiched between.

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General consensus has it that it’s merely adequate – even top scorer US Gamer described it as “simple” and “straightforward” in their review. Most critics do seem to agree that it has a decent enough foundation to build on though, and that the series is heading in the right direction.

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At the time of typing the Call of Duty: Black Ops III embargo is yet to lift. We’re aiming to bring you a review round-up once they start to trickle through. We suggest approaching the last-gen versions with caution though as it sounds like Activision hasn’t put in any significant effort. There’s no campaign, the weapon paint shop and eSports tools aren’t making the cut and the frame rate has been set to scale between 30 and 60 frames per second, instead of a near constant 60fps like before. Moreover, the PS3 version looks laughably poor in terms of visuals – those who received their copies early and were shocked by how bad it looks, sharing streams and images online for others to gawk at.

We would say that Activision throwing a download code for the first Black Ops in the box compensates somewhat, but it’s likely that most CoD fans already own the original.

Because we’re into November and Christmas is nearing there’s a whole bunch of games aimed at the younger generation also out this week. Specifically, Hello Kitty and The Apron of Magic Rhythm Cooking (3DS), Hello Kitty: Kruisers (Wii U), Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure (everything), Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations (ditto) and Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofensmirtz (PS Vita). Out of these, the only one we can vouch for is the Adventure Time tie-in. Reviews went live last week ahead of its US release and were mostly positive, including a fair few 7/10s.

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Reviews of Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash have been less positive. Yes, even less positive than a cartoon licensed game. As mentioned in our weekly eShop round-up, scores so far include 4/10 from GameSpot, 2.5/5 from US Gamer and 6.5 from God is a Geek.

Since then it has also received a miserable 4/10 from The Metro. “Despite the name this lacks any kind of zip at all, in what may be the most mundane and unexciting platformer Nintendo has ever put their name to” they said.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night appears to be the only other new retail release. It’s a story-driven music game set after the events of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. Regrettably, it’s another with mixed reviews. GameSpot and Brash Games weren’t impressed, handing out mediocre 5/10s, while both Polygon and EGM gave it an 8.5.

Unless the Xbox One receives a surprise game (or two) on Friday it appears that it’s a quiet week on the Xbox Store. The same can’t be said for PSN. New PS Plus freebie Dragon Fin Soup heads to PS4, PS Vita and PS3 while the PS4 also gets Arcade Archives NOVA2001 (£7.99), pixelated parallax platformer Poncho (£11.99) and Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers – PlayStation 4 Edition (£34.99).

Then on PS3 there’s River City Super Sports Challenge: All Star Special (£19.99) – based on the cult classic River City Ransom series – while the PS Vita sees the release of the nonsensically titled visual novel Norn9: Var Commons (£28.99) and the bank heist-based arcade action game Fat City (£18.99). That last one comes from Heavy Iron, a studio that made many Disney/Pixar tie-ins back in the day. If you can look past the bank breaking price tag it’s apparently well worth a look.

Next week: Fallout 4 (Multi), Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One/360), Starcraft 2: Legacy Of The Void (PC), Football Manager 2016 (PC), Rodea: The Sky Soldier (Nintendo Wii U), Sword Art Online: Lost Song (PS4), Hello Kitty and Friends: Rocking World (3DS) and Kromaia Omega (PS4).