A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This racing game was designed as a NASCAR simulation. That means players engage in sanctioned sporting events, not illegal street races, as in some racing games. However, the dangers of the sport aren't clearly illustrated. When accidents happen, all players see is car damage; drivers are never injured or forced to quit the race. This could give kids the impression than high-speed racing carries little danger.
Positive Role Models
Plenty of real-life NASCAR personalities are represented by their names and likenesses. They are rarely seen or heard, but players could infer character disposition based on the driving styles they see, which tend to be in line with what one would expect in a real-world NASCAR race.
Ease of Play
The game is perhaps too easy, though at least racing rookies won't have an issue trying to win. The cars aren't difficult to control, but they do feel stiff.
Violence & Scariness
The game is based on the real sport of NASCAR, which sees its share of car crashes and pile-ups -- including driver deaths caused by the accidents -- but the game doesn't show any crashes in gory detail.
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One of the songs in the soundtrack has the word "hell" in its lyrics.
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Products & Purchases
NASCAR is filled with sponsored vehicles and uniforms, and this game is no different. You'll see logos for Ford, Energizer, Tums, Lowe's, Sunoco, the U.S. Army, GoDaddy.com, and many others -- primarily splashed on the race cars.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that NASCAR The Game 2011 is a racing simulation game with some mild language (one song that has the word "hell" in its lyrics). Note, though, that its depiction of racing -- though seemingly realistic -- does not accurately simulate the dangers and potential consequences of high-speed racing. This could affect how young players think about the risks involved with real-world driving.
Is It Any Good?
While the game sounds decent on paper, playing isn't very fun for a few reasons. For one, it's incredibly easy. Passing other drivers is a piece of cake. You will most likely win races regardless of your skill level. Anyone with driving game experience should select the highest difficulty setting. Second, the cars don't control very well. They feel stiff and unresponsive. Third, this game is a stripped down version of the PS3 and Xbox 360 version. It removes features like vehicle customization, and there's no way to save races for viewing or sharing at a later time -- a must for racing games.
Unless you don't care about experiencing a modicum of challenge or enjoying features found in other versions of the game, this one should be left for the bargain bin.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.