WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Game Review

There was a time, seemingly not all that long ago, when a Call of Duty game was all about storming a World War II beach, maneuvering around barbed wire barricades and keeping your M1 carbine fed while fighting for the good ol' Red, White and Blue.

But time and mega-franchise shooter expectations march on.

It's now 2065 and those foxhole-crawling grunts have been transformed into super-duper G.I. Jedis. Exoskeleton suits and multipurpose future-tech weapons? Even those items are so "last game." These new CoD soldiers trade body parts for cybernetic limbs and have mega-computers packed into all that useless open space in their heads. And national loyalties? Well, it's so hard to tell the good guys from the bad these days. So just kill everyone in sight for the sheer joy of using your gizmos!

Welcome to Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

It's a game that begins with an enemy robot crushing your legs and ripping your arms off. Now, that might make most people reconsider their choice of profession. But in this man's army game it's merely an opportunity to be rebuilt into something really high-powered and cool. Toss in the abovementioned microchip brain upgrade—called a Direct Neural Interface, or DNI—and you can now instantly tap into any computer terminal with a wave of your Tom Cruise hand.

DNI cybercores allow you to mentally control mechanical drones and send out swarms of destructive flying nanobots. And running along walls while you pinpoint all the enemies on the field and highlight areas where you're most likely to be hit is simply normal operating procedure.

With Friends (and a Story) Like These …

What about a plot? Well, there is one … sorta. This digital future world of some 50 years hence is an amalgamation of every dystopian prediction ever leveled by fearful handwringers. Global cooling-warming-changing superstorms are wreaking weather patterns, populations have grown to unsustainable masses that pack crumbling megacities, and acronym-adorned power-hungry conglomerates are running roughshod over everything and anything resembling human rights, law and order or basic decency. That means, mission by mission, there's always a new group of foes, "friends" or random folks who are just in the way that must be gunned down.

Truth be told, though, this game's hard-to-follow sci-fi war story is essentially nothing more than a way to wow you with a splash of gritty, techy trigger-pulling coolness while training you up in all your new abilities and weaponry. The CoD crew knows that the real draw here is the usual assortment of online deathmatch and capture-the-flag competitions that take place on a dozen different maps after you've learned how to mind all your lethal p's and q's.

One new addition in that category is the introduction of nine elite warrior types called "specialists" that you can choose from in the multiplayer team battles. Each of these characters packs a particular weapon skill and a unique DNI ability—such as decoy spawning, pumped-up enemy detection, arena-melting fire powers, etc. And for those who want their multiplayer action just a bit zanier, the gamemakers have also tossed in another grave-stumbling Zombie mode—a 1940s film noir onslaught of endless hordes of the undead.

Run, Leap, Splatter

Looked at from nothing more than the perspective of a bit of fast gaming action, Call of Duty: Black Ops III steps up to give players what it's expected to. This is a mechanically fluid, adrenaline-pumping, shooting arena-like game of run-and-gun chaos. Of course, it's also a very nasty game of run-and-gun messiness. No matter what mode you're playing in, gore splatters and gushes as foes are riddled, zapped or battered.

In the campaign story mode we see heads and limbs ripped and sliced off; witness men who have been tortured by having their facial features torn away and eyes gouged out; and watch as people are burned, beaten and waterboarded. Some are even crucified or hung up by wires, and corpses quite literally litter the battlefields. In Zombie mode, a tentacled beast slashes the undead into blood-spouting chunks.

The language throughout is foul, rife with f-words, s-words and nearly any other crudity you don't really want to come up with right now. And the warmongering gets put on hold at one point for a sexual encounter that features a (clothed) woman writhing sensually on a man's lap.

The thing you don't really get anymore with the Call of Duty games is any sense of, well, duty. Or honor. Or the idea that the men and women who make their horrible sacrifices in war do so out of loyalty to their country or love for their families. Those old-school sensibilities are so last-gen.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!