Need for Speed: The Run

Common Sense Media says

Police-dodging street racing game sends the wrong message.

Age(i)

2
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9
10
11
12
13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

Female characters in the game are dressed provocatively and sometimes move in suggestive ways.

Language

There is rough dialogue throughout the story mode, including swear words like "s--t" and "assh--e."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns: This game is playable online. If players have chat enabled on their console, they may be exposed to unmoderated language from real-life competitors. This is a setting that can be disabled on any console so parents should be aware of options, and select the ones that make their child's experience as safe as possible.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In NEED FOR SPEED: THE RUN, players are ultimately working to drive across the country from coast-to-coast. They engage in street races along the way, competing against other nefarious racers to earn money and recognition in the underground racing community. Some of these characters are downright seedy and underhanded while others come across as normal people; but they all share the same love of illegal street racing. The story depicts the police as an enemy force that wants to stop players from their dangerous activity.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the glorification of car crashes in this game. Why is this form of violence so appealing and is it different when you don't actually see people during the crash?

  • Would there be a way to keep the same intensity to this game while still offering a better moral message?

  • What are the negative messages in this game and what is done to curtail their impact?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Windows
Price:$39.99-$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:November 15, 2011
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:T for Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Need for Speed: The Run was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bySinu August 11, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

11 and up

nothing
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written byBadMario13company December 7, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Amazing game

Light about of bad words no F-Bombs Lady's Great GamePlay But the mob cops fbi Is here going against laws that's fine 9.1
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written bySaad1Khan November 15, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Really cool!

Good game but contains sexual themes and use of curse words.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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