By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violent, vehicle-based action game with sex and swearing.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While the game has you stopping criminal overlords, you decide to take the law into your own hands. Your goal is to take down these evil kingpins by any means necessary, which usually means through violence. As such, this game doesn't give a positive message.
Positive Role Models
The main player, John Tanner, used to be a NYPD officer but he decides to go out on his own to take down the heads of various criminal outfits. While likeable, he isn't a very good role model for breaking the law and using excessive force to complete his objectives.
Ease of Play
Despite a somewhat confusing mini-map, this game is pretty easy to play using the Nintendo 3DS buttons and accelerometer. The touchscreen isn't utilized very much in this game.
Violence & Scariness
Especially for a Nintendo 3DS title, this "Mature"-rated video game shows plenty of violence, both in the actual gameplay as well as non-interactive cut-scene sequences. For example, you can drive into enemy cars to cause them to explode, while the mini-movies might show a gunshot to the head, with lots of blood, or someone jumping in front of a train.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are references to sexual behavior, especially in the missions to take down the "pimp" in the game. Dialogue refers to "prostitutes," "hookers," "massage parlors" and "call girls." In one scene you can see a cut-scene of a prostitute taking off her clothes with a man in a bed and you'll hear moaning sounds (but there is no nudity).
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The game has some strong profanity in dialogue sequences, including words like "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn" and "hellhole."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A couple of the main criminals are involved in drugs; therefore, there are many references to "drugs," "narcotics," and "shooting up." But you are taking these seedy characters down rather than partaking in illegal narcotics.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Driver: Renegade is one of the rare Nintendo 3DS games that is M-rated because of its violence, blood, sexual themes, and strong language. It isn't for kids or young teens. The mature themes involve killing kingpins and their henchmen in and around New York City, primarily through driving-based missions, which show loads of violence and blood-splatter. Cussing is heard throughout the dialogue and some scenes are sexually suggestive.
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What’s It About?
In DRIVER: RENEGADE for the Nintendo 3DS, players step into the shoes of John Tanner, an ex-undercover cop who decides to take the law in his own hands. New York City is overrun by organized crime and so Tanner, with his vehicle as his main weapon, vows to take down five kingpins, including an arms dealer, human organs trafficker, drug lord, and other seedy villains. Taking place between the stories of Ubisoft's Driver and Driver 2, the relentless renegade will also work with other characters we'll meet, each of whom helps Tanner in his dangerous missions.
Is It Any Good?
Driver: Renegade is good, but the action is over way too soon. While the gameplay is fun and intense for the targeted audience of older gamers -- featuring mission-based driving that has you racing around NYC's streets, engaging in car chases, destroying property, performing jumps, and filling up your "Rage" bar to add a boost and punish enemy cars even more –- the main story mode is over in less than 3 hours. And while there's also a career mode, where you can complete challenges for gold medals and new vehicles, the game offers very little replayability.
Visually, the stereoscopic 3D effect works well -- without requiring 3D glasses -- for both the gameplay and the cinematic cut-scene sequences, plus the Nintendo 3DS' accelerometer sensor can be used to help control Tanner's vehicle, too. The frame rate is fairly smooth, as well, which is very important for a racing game. But because of the game's brevity, it's hard to recommend it -- especially as it's a $40 cartridge.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether adult games for the Nintendo 3DS platform make sense given their primary demographic of young players. Is it smart to release games like this, and other mature titles like Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, to broaden their gamer base, or do they sell well enough to justify the investment?
What is the impact of violence like the kind found in this game?
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: UbiSoft
- Release date: September 6, 2011
- Genre: Racing
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: August 29, 2016
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