Need for Speed: The Run Game Poster Image

Need for Speed: The Run

Police-dodging street racing game sends the wrong message.

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.


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.


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


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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?


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:Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:November 15, 2011
ESRB rating:T for Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

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

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byAwesome DaD July 9, 2015


Over all no violence just some car crash and accidents. Girls and Women wearing skimpy dresses and moving in suggestive way.
Teen, 16 years old Written bySinu August 11, 2012

11 and up

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written byBadMario13company December 7, 2014

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