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

Set in an open-sandbox digital re-creation of the U.S., The Crew is a Massively Multiplayer Online game for gearheads. It's a paved playground where you can jump online and, instead of swinging a sword or pulling a digital trigger (for once!), find all the hot-footed speedster maneuvering your little redlining heart might desire.

You'll also find, though, that the game's storyline centers around a notorious gang of street racers called the 5-10 Motor Club. This unlawful organization's reach stretches from coast to coast and involves everything from illegal street racing to underground gambling to the sale of drugs and other unspecified black-market materials.

A Racer
After showing us a sample of his superior driving skills, the game's hero—a bearded lead-foot named Alex Taylor—meets up with his older brother Dayton. Now Alex has purposely steered clear of the street gang scene in Detroit. But Dayton is buckled securely into that cars-and-contraband world. So Dayton asks Alex to drive him to a secretive meeting, and before you can say "Is that hot hunk of sheet metal hiding a hemi?" Big Bro is shot dead and Little Bro is left with oil and blood all over his hands.

FBI Special Agent Coburn quickly carts Alex off to prison. But the dude's tale isn't quite over yet, of course. After a few years in the slow lane behind bars, he's approached by another FBI agent named Zoe. She reveals that Agent Coburn is dirty, and the FBI needs a man with a particular set of skills behind the wheel to infiltrate the 5-10s and expose the agent's well-greased connections to the gang. If Alex will help them out, not only will he be freed but he'll get help gaining the cars and crew to pursue his brother's real killer—a 5-10 honcho named Shiv.

With that as the starting line, gamers set off on a 40- to 50- (to 80-) hour series of main story "work your way up through the gang ranks" racing missions. And if variety is the spice of life, The Crew certainly tries to be savory. While racing through the well-detailed streets of Detroit, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and eight other cities in between, Alex can pick up and continually upgrade a cadre of cars—from American classics to European road rockets, with each ride possessing its own unique power stats, maneuverability and feel.

A Race
The races themselves try to give a sense of variety as well. Each of the scattered starting points is flagged as a "Performance," "Raid," "Circuit," "Dirt" or "Street" race, and requires a specific vehicle type and racing grade to join. But whether you're blazing down a traffic-packed Manhattan street, careening through an abandoned plane graveyard, or four-wheeling through a Louisiana bayou, the action generally boils down to making a standard timed run, escaping from a handful of pursuers or chasing down an enemy racer to shunt him off the road.

Each challenge then offers up in-game cash for further car purchases and upgrades, along with experience boosts and specialized car parts that can make your ride move quicker—not to mention look cooler.

To be quite frank, then, this T-rated racer is fast and furious fun. Customizing a stable of awesome autos and bulleting them through boulevards and over hill and dale can be exciting. And even when you miss a turn and smash these beautiful vehicles to bits, they'll pop back into their freshly painted perfection once a race is finished. And since this is an MMO, you have the option of joining in a race with up to eight other real in-game racers for some non-AI racing challenges if you choose. Or you can go about your own single-player way.

A Road Full of Thugs
That isn't to suggest, however, that there aren't some erratic elements to consider closely before slamming the pedal to the metal—especially when it comes to the younger kids this game is aimed at. Because, as you might remember, even though our in-game representative, Alex, is working for the authorities and a good guy at his core, he's still mixing things up in a fairly gritty world full of gangbangers and dirty cops.

We see and hear of characters being killed. Some of the women in the group sport quite a bit of digital flesh. And we listen to dialogue laced with s-words and uses of "d--n," "a--" and "h---." Alex also has to outrun pursuing police in a number of cases, heightening an overarching sense of disrespect for authority and, well, speeding up a gamer's urge to ram cars, fences and signposts while generally driving like a maniac.

Now, that type of content may not motor anywhere near Grand Theft Auto. But it's not in gear with Gran Turismo either.

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!