What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this colorful, fast-paced racing game centers around illegal street racing. Racers willfully break the law, evade -- and sometimes fight back against -- police who try to stop them, destroy property, and run roadblocks. The developers include disclaimers before the game starts, which explain the dangers and illegality of street racing. They also remind players to wear safety belts in real life. Still, the police are treated as bad guys -- or at the very least wet blankets who want to spoil everybody's street racing fun. None of the drivers are ever hurt during the game, but that might give younger players the erroneous impression that high speed crashes aren't necessarily a serious thing.
What's it about?
In NEED FOR SPEED: NITRO drivers compete in an illegal street racing circuit in an attempt to earn enough money to get out of the dangerous lives they're stuck in. Races take place all around the world, in exotic locales like Rio and Egypt. Police cars try to shut down the competitions and often meet resistance from the drivers. As wins are racked up, players can buy newer, faster cars and upgrade the ones they have.
Is it any good?
Need for Speed: Nitro is a decent racing game, and certainly fun in an adrenaline-rush kind of way, but doesn't bring that much new to the racing genre. If you've played lots of racing games before, you'll find many of the standard elements here: Earn points and power for drifting around tight corners; use a nitro boost for quick bursts of speed; start with a Volkswagen van and earn money to buy better cars as you go along. Being able to paint and customize the looks of your cars is one very nice bonus feature. None of this means NFS: Nitro is a bad game at all, though, and it makes a very nice introduction to the genre for gamers who are new to racing sims.
Families can talk about...
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 can also ask their children how they feel playing a criminal in a video game. Do they have fun doing things in a game that they know they never could or should do in real life? Is there a catharsis in it? Or does it teach kids the wrong lessons?
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.