This week certainly isn’t the busiest we’ve seen this year. However, a new Call of Duty is upon us, which makes this week one of the biggest in the gaming calendar almost by default.

Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches Friday, being a “soft reboot” of the Modern Warfare series with a new game engine and a campaign – which Activision has kept under wraps – focusing on Captain Price. It’s also the first in the franchise to support cross-platform multiplayer, and both the season pass and loot boxes have been scrapped. Or at least, there are no loot boxes at launch. Activision has a habit of adding IAPs a few months down the line. They certainly haven’t forgotten about junk food promotion, with boxes of double XP bestowing Doritos available.

There’s no Zombies mode in Modern Warfare, though – it sees the return of the co-op Spec Ops mode instead. This mode has come under fire for being PlayStation exclusive until October 2020.

As per usual, don’t expect to see reviews until launch day. Reviews of The Outer Worlds – this week’s other big-name release – went live earlier today, somewhat more helpfully. As many hoped, it sees Obsidian on top form, giving the world a new Fallout style experience at a time when Fallout is falling flat. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive so far, even including top marks from a handful of outlets. We’ve rounded up scores below.

You’ll also find scores for Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III below – two very different JRPGs. Destiny Connect has arrived to a lukewarm reception due to being rather child-like and simplistic, while some critics claim that Trails of Cold Steel III is on par with the almighty Dragon Quest XI. Crikey.

If you prefer your RPGs to be on the cutesy side, Cat Quest II is also out this week. Even Xbox One owners can get some ‘catisfaction’ this time around – the original skipped Xbox.

From good to bad. Word has it 2K should have skipped WWE this year – WWE 2K20 has arrived in a poor state, clearly in need of more development time. You may have already seen footage online highlighting numerous graphical glitches and AI issues such as referees ignoring pins. The reason for the game’s shoddiness is that development was handled entirely by Visual Concepts, instead of being co-developed by Yukes.

The first review to go live is from Forbes, who awarded the grappler a middling 5.25. “While a few of the legacy strengths such as the creation suite are still strong, the most important part, the gameplay is in a bad place. The previous years’ version of a game shouldn’t play significantly better than the new title, but that’s the case with WWE 2K20,” they said.

Sony dishes up one of their major winter exclusives too, in the form of MediEvil – a remake of the much-loved undead PSone action platformer. They’re clearly hoping for a repeat success of Spyro Reignited, Crash N. Sane Trilogy et al. Like those games, it’s arriving at less than full price. Expect to pay around £25.

Finally, there’s the low-poly party game Lonely Mountains: Downhill. It’s going down well with critics, gaining praise for its addictive nature and tight controls. Like The Outer Worlds, this too makes its debut on Game Pass. Result!

The Outer Worlds

10/10 – PlayStation Lifestyle: The combination of The Outer Worlds‘ stunning visuals and immersive story telling have positioned the game to be an amazing start to a beloved franchise. We’ve only just scratched the surface with Halcyon’s tale, and I am certain Obsidian has begun planting seeds for its future.

5/5 – TheXboxHub: All in all and The Outer Worlds on Xbox One is so much more than Fallout in space, and I honestly think you owe it to yourself to play this game. This is one of the most entertaining gaming experiences I’ve played this year, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone and everyone. 

9/10 – GameSpot: I finished The Outer Worlds wanting more, eager to jump back into the world to see extra things. It’s not a short game, but it’s one packed with such a steady stream of wonderful characters to meet, interesting places to explore, and meaningful, multi-layered quests to solve, that it didn’t feel like there was any room to get tired of it

9/10 – Destructoid: Despite some nominal issues that might be easier for some to hand-wave than others, Obsidian has out-Fallouted recent Fallout efforts. The Outer Worlds is more limited from a size standpoint compared to a lot of other open world adventures, but it makes up for it in charm and a succinct vision without much bloat

8.5 – God is a Geek: A spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas in every way, The Outer Worlds is better written and more polished than we’ve since come to expect from the franchise it emulates.

4/5 – GamesRadar: The Outer Worlds marks Obsidian operating at the top of its game, and a strong foundation for a new franchise that seems destined for greatness.

8/10 – TSA: The Outer Worlds is the game that fans have wanted Obsidian Entertainment to make for the better part of a decade. The story is the main attraction here, with Obsidian’s witty writing coming to the fore in an interesting and funny interstellar setting. If that’s what you look for in your RPGs, The Outer Worlds will not disappoint.

Lonely Mountains: Downhill 

8/10 – Push Square: It’s a moreish experience, buoyed by outstanding controller response and a compelling reward loop. Occasional framerate hiccups threaten to wrestle control out of your hands, but instances of this are generally uncommon.

4/5 – Screen Rant: Lonely Mountains: Downhill offers a great deal of seriously addictive fun and is something that players can enjoy for hours on end.

Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers 

6.5 – God is a Geek: Destiny Connect is a very nice introduction to JRPGs for a younger audience with its simple story and basic combat that will last you just around 15 hours which is fair for the budget price. It isn’t ambitious at all and while that isn’t really a dealbreaker, the performance issues in cutscenes, overall image quality, and silent dialogue is something I hope can be addressed in either a sequel or patches.

6.3 – VideoChums: Destiny Connect is a charming JRPG that’s full of creativity. However, it’s too small and doesn’t do much to break from the most basic formulas.

6.0 – Nintendo World Report: It’s an okay game, but without any defining features other than competency, it’s hard to recommend over similar games in the genre.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III 

9/10 – Push Square: This latest entry strikes a near perfect balance between story and gameplay, all while juggling an ever-growing cast of great characters and an in-depth, hugely rewarding battle system. Cold Steel III is JRPG joy from start to finish, and it sits alongside the likes of Persona 5 and Dragon Quest XI as one of the PS4’s finest.

8/10 – PlayStation Country: The story doesn’t finish here as a fourth instalment is already out in Japan which we’ll have to wait for, but this is a trail I’ve enjoyed traversing for hundreds of hours now and I look forward to seeing it through to the end, hopefully not too far in the future.

8.0 – GameInformer: Trails of Cold Steel III marks another school year full of adrenaline-pumping battles, interesting new faces, and unexpected hardships amidst political turmoil

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

WWE 2K20 MyCAREER Trailer

MediEvil 

Cat Quest II

New digital multi-format releases

  • Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers
  • WWE 2K20
  • Street Outlaws The List
  • Lonely Mountains Downhill
  • Cat Quest II
  • Deep Space Rush
  • Door Kickers Action Squad
  • Lornsword Winter Chronicle

New on PSN

  • MediEvil
  • CoolPaintrVR Deluxe Edition
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
  • Arcade Archives VS. CASTLEVANIA
  • Beep! Beep! Deliveries
  • Antigraviator
  • bayala – the game
  • Dark Devotion
  • Robox
  • Vektor Wars
  • Just Ignore Them
  • Bonfire
  • Horror Stories
  • Let’s Sing 2020

New on Xbox One store

  • Pixel Gladiator
  • Caretaker Game
  • Let’s Sing Country
  • Eastshade
  • Farming Simulator 19 – Platinum Edition
  • PBA Pro Bowling

New Nintendo retail releases

  • Destiny Connect Tick-Tock Travelers
  • Dusk Diver
  • Spirit Hunter: Ng
  • Harvest Moon: Light of Hope Complete Special Edition

Next week: Luigi’s Mansion 3, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD, Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King, Into the Dead 2, Syberia Trilogy, Xeno Crisis, Race with Ryan, Jalopy, Tanky Tanks, Close To The Sun, Disgaea 4 Complete+, Vampyr, Police Chase, Afterparty, Inferno 2+, Yakuza 4 Remaster, Citadel: Forged with Fire, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, and a retail release of Forager.