Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Need For Speed: Most Wanted Game Poster Image
Cops vs. street racers challenge rewards recklessness.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Need For Speed: Most Wanted wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
 

Positive Messages

While clearly rooted in fiction, the game encourages drivers to race recklessly around a city and avoid the police who pursue you. In fact, you can also smash the police into objects or cut them off and earn points for doing so. As a result, this game does not give a good positive message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You do not play as any one character in particular other than a generic "driver." You're simply taking on racing challenges spread throughout a large and interactive city. But because you're rewarded for evading the police or causing them to crash, you aren't a good role model.

 

Ease of Play

Unlike many other driver games, Need For Speed: Most Wanted has many assists that make the game easier to play. This includes handling the car as well as finding and upgrading other cars. If you want more control, you can turn off these aids.

Violence

The game has many crash scenes, often slowed down for dramatic effect. You can cause other cars to crash, including the police, but no one gets hurt in this game. You can smash into oncoming traffic, but you're penalized for doing so as you'll fall behind in the race to the finish.

Sex

Some suggestive business signs can be seen throughout the city, such as a delivery company like FedEx called "GoodsEX" (say it out loud and you'll get it). There is also a massage parlor sign with a company called Roman Hands.

Consumerism

This game has more than 100 licensed cars -- such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi -- but the town name is fictitious, as are the billboards that advertise products. The music soundtrack features real artists.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some ads for alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Need of Speed: Most Wanted is an arcade-style racing game that encourages reckless driving. Drivers try to break the rules and evade the police and get rewarded for it. The game also has an option for open chat that is unmoderated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 year old Written byNickysMom2003 June 28, 2016

No bad language or sexual situations in Wii U version!

We have this game for Wii U and, although it encourages bad driving behavior such as being chased by cops and taking down other drivers to win their car, it is... Continue reading
Adult Written byBen L. March 9, 2018

Good need for speed game

This game is a modernized version of a need for speed game made in 2005. This one has better graphics and a great variety of cars. In the game you compete in st... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 17, 2013

Not that bad

This is just as bad as nfs carbon [see other review]. But there is cops and you outrun them if you go online there is some cool people. For some challenges you... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byNitro_Python July 23, 2013

Great game

This game is great! Common sense says it encourages bad driving but hell how are the children going to get the chance to drive until they are mature enough to a... Continue reading

What's it about?

The seminal arcade racing game is back. Developed by Criterion Games, NEED FOR SPEED: MOST WANTED is a cops-versus-street-racers challenge that lets you hop into a number of exotic vehicles to burn asphalt throughout the fictional Fairhaven City. In the lengthy single-player game, the first few missions give you a good taste of how the licensed cars handle on the roads, along with the sensation of serious speed (200 miles per hour), drifting around corners and seeking out shortcuts (and jumps) to get an edge over the stiff competition. If you cause too much damage while vying for the finish line, you’ll find yourself pursued by the police and must shake them. Place in first, second, or third to rack up points, which can be spent on modifying your ride. Score enough points and you’ll earn the ability to take on 10 of the hottest cars in the game to climb the ranks of the \"Most Wanted.\"

Is it any good?

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is great fun for those old enough to understand that this isn't how car drivers should behave. Along with the fast and furious single-player game modes -- like Ambush, Sprint Race, Speed Run, and Circuit race -- online multiplayer bumps up the fun even further. But be aware you need to sign up for Electronic Arts’ Origin game service to play against others. It’s free, but mandatory, and some gamers aren’t thrilled about it (this is on top of the Xbox Live or PlayStation Network service). You can then challenge friends to games or a number of consecutive events, or compare your skills with others thanks to EA’s Autolog 2.0 technology that displays all of your stats -- including times, record speeds, pursuits, jump distances, achievements, and more.

Overall, Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a visceral thrill. Not only do you get to race and modify many different dream cars, but it’s an open world with a number of areas, collectibles and game modes to explore. Plus, instead of having to wait to drive the cars you want –- which is how most car racing games work –- practically every car is available from the get-go in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The game’s motto is “if you can find it, you can drive it,” therefore you’re rewarded for venturing out in Fairhaven.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how video games often provide a virtual thrill by letting you do things you can't or wouldn't do in real life.

  • Families can also discuss responsible driving. Parents who have teens learning to drive may want to consider studies that suggest playing some racing games can lead to taking more driving risks in real life and share it with their children.

Game details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love speed and fast action

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate