A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This game glamorizes illegal street racing. Players zoom down busy streets in populated cities, with the goal of being faster than other cars that are also engaging in the dangerous activity. Evading the police is not only encouraged, it is necessary in order to win.
Positive Role Models
The characters in this game all compete in the illegal sport of street racing. In addition, instead of portraying the police as a positive and upstanding force, they are presented as enemies for trying to shut down the player's illegal and unsafe activity.
Ease of Play
There are a variety of races and challenges in this game, each of which has a different level of difficulty. This is not a game for beginners, as the computer-controlled opponents will fully test players' mettle. Players will need to navigate around sharp turns, manage acceleration and breaks to their full effectiveness, and dodge obstacles in order to gain the coveted first-place spot. For many of the races, players will need to play through a few times to learn and memorize the track to know when and where to turn. The game is designed to present a challenge to veteran race game players.
Violence & Scariness
While crashing is obviously not generally encouraged in this game, if players do happen to ram their cars into a building, barrier, or other car, the effect is glamorized and highlighted with slow-motion effects (showing realistic effects like glass shattering and vehicle destruction) and camera pans to capture all the action. In addition, there are modes of play that do actually reward players for crashes where points are awarded based on the destructiveness of the crash.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female characters in the game are dressed provocatively and sometimes move in suggestive ways.
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There is rough dialogue throughout the story mode, including swear words like "s--t" and "assh--e."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Need for Speed: The Run is a street racing game that places a lot of emphasis on dodging the police. There are even some scenes in which the police go so far as to send in helicopter units that shoot machine guns at the player but the unwavering message is to continue playing and avoid law enforcement. This game glamorizes the illegal sport of street racing and has little to no positive messages. If players crash their vehicle, they are sometimes rewarded with points and almost always rewarded with a glamorous, slow-motion depiction of wreckage and destruction. It should be noted, though, that measures are taken to mitigate the impact of the violence and unsavory behavior -- for example, humans are never depicted as being injured in car crashes, actual police officers are rarely seen (players usually only see police vehicles), and the focus is always on racing and mastering the controls. There is rough dialogue in this game as well as some suggestive content with women depicted in provocative outfits and acting with suggestive mannerisms.
Is It Any Good?
Need for Speed: The Run exemplifies the characteristics that have made the Need for Speed series one of the most heralded names in racing games. The graphics are beautiful, the controls are sophisticated and extremely well executed, and there is an addicting level of vehicle customization that will drive players to keep playing until they create the ultimate ride. The adrenaline of running from the police adds an extra jolt of excitement to this game, but only for players who recognize that in real life, what is presented in the game is dangerous and toxic and should only exist inside the realm of a video game. Fans of the Need for Speed series or racing games in general will enjoy the masterful presentation here, despite the lack of positive role models or messages.
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.