Is anyone familiar with the video game "Need for Speed--Most Wanted"?

My 19-yr-old son wants it for Christmas. Is there anything objectionable in it?

Well, I suppose objectionable is a sliding scale somewhat depending on your son’s maturity level. At it’s essence this is a racing game where twenty-somethings hot rod and drag race around a city. The goal is to become the fastest racer.

I have played the game, almost to its conclusion. The loose story line that interweaves the different segments details a teen subculture that is mildly criminal (in blatant disregard of traffic regulations). To my recollection there are no drugs, alcohol, swearing, or other such things.

When racing illegally through the street, there are other ‘civilian’ cars that one can collide with and simulate an accident to differnt degrees. There are no explosions, or people to be seen, so the violence to others is fairly limited to destruction of property and the implied injury another driver would receive. There are no ‘points’ for hitting other cars – however… it is most certainly a hit and run situation.

One of the prime parts of the game is to be involved in (as the subject of) police chases, where there are points awarded for causing damage to the police force, duration of pursuit, number of cars in pursuit, etc. In order to ‘collect’ on these points one must eventually successfully evade all pursuit (and then become the eponymous ‘Most Wanted’). If you are finally trapped and caught by the police, there is a takedown police video which I think is commensurate to the level of lawbreaking done. Your car is impounded and you incur egregious fines.

Ultimately, the long arm of the law invariably catches you.

Overall, I would say the game is a much safer alternative to some of the other games that encourage much much worse behavior when driving. Although the game does reward behavior that breaks traffic rules, if you exhibit a carelessness or just simple disregard for private property (other peoples cars, items on sidewalks) you will ultimately get caught and lose the game.

Its a mixed bag, but probably the safest of the genre of games that allows for (encourages) virtual law-breaking.

Thank you. Your review has been helpful.

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