A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is an illegal street racing game that encourages you to win races by any means necessary -- this includes smashing into cars, using weapons (like an EMP blast), or forcing others off the road to crash. The crash sequences are overly dramatic -- including slow-motion camera angles that sensationalize the smash -- and gamers will see words on the screen such as "Wrecked Cop" and receive a "bounty" (reward) based on their takedown.
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What's it about?
One of the most successful arcade racing game series is back for more with NEED FOR SPEED HOT PURSUIT, an intense cops vs. racers video game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Despite the fact it shares the same name as 1998's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Electronic Arts' latest racer is packed with new features, high-definition graphics, and a huge, open-world in which to burn asphalt. Climb into real-world exotic cars (you likely can't afford in real life!) such as the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione or Porsche Cayman S and tackle friends online or the game's smart A.I. and race to the finish line -- while evading the police. Or you can play as the police, if you prefer. This game offers multiple solo and multiplayer modes, varied environments (coastline, forest, desert and mountain) and numerous weapons for both the cops and racers, be it decoys, EMP blasts, nitro boosts, and more.
Is it any good?
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a blast for those who love combative, white-knuckle racing games. While the three online modes don't have all the weapons and cops found in the solo modes (they're more straight-forward racing games for up to eight players), Need For Speed Hot Pursuit is an exhilarating racer. New to the franchise is a comprehensive Career mode (play as both sides of the law) and an Autolog feature that tracks all your stats and lets you compare yours to friends. The handful of exotic cars look amazing and handle well, such as the Lamborghini Reventon or Pagani Zonda Cinque, plus using weapons and other tools to win the races add more excitement to the game. You will earn "bounty," an in-game currency, to buy goodies with the points collected for each successful move, which may include cutting off a police car so that it falls off a cliff. While not a game for good role modeling, it is a blast for teens old enough to enjoy a well done arcade racer.
Online interaction: The game lets you play online with other racers, including the option to chat via headset microphone if desired so that kids exercising that option might hear offensive speech and asked inappropriate questions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's ok or not to play games that reward you for smashing into police cars. At what age should kids be allowed to play this game? When are they older enough to understand this is just a game, but not one to be emulated.
Families can talk about the importance of abiding by traffic laws, how defensive driving keeps people safe in real life, and the need for seat belts.
Parents who have teens learning to drive may want to consider a study that suggests playing some racing games can lead to taking more driving risks in real life and share it with their children.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.