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The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
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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.
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Science: engineering, motion, physics
Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, strategy
Responsibility & Ethics: learning from consequences
Self-Direction: time management, work to achieve goals
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Electronic Arts
- Release date: October 30, 2012
- Genre: Racing
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief, Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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For kids who love speed and fast action
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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.