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

What makes a great role playing game?

Some have said that a solid RPG really only requires three things: a good story, a good story and a good story. And the gamemakers behind The Technomancer likely thought they had that one pegged.

I mean, taking on the role of a special forces operative on Mars who must deal with the planet's political intrigues and dangerous monsters while packing the ability to shoot lightning from his fingertips sounds like it has potential, right?

A Deep, Fried World

Gamers step up to the challenges of the Red Planet as Zachariah Mancer, a rookie who's just earning his Technomancer stripes. These elite officers take care of the law-and-order needs of an underground corporate city called Abundance. And it turns out that most things happen underground on Mars, since the harsh rays of the sun have a nasty tendency to reduce men to mutated husks.

Humanity colonized Mars hundreds of years before, we learn. Over that time span, everything on this flash-fried orb of rock has been subjugated under the control of competing corporate oligarchies. These totalitarian mini-governments fight fiercely for what little water there is and run roughshod over every human they keep huddled under their "protection."

If that doesn't quite sound like a place you'd like to visit on vacation, well, you're getting the sense of things. And even though you're on this version of Mars as sort of a powered-up Jedi with a gun and a bad haircut, it's actually not a great place to visit as a gamer, either.

Muddled Morality

For one thing, the story side of the game gets more muddled and hard to follow the deeper in you get into it.

Zachariah is called upon to examine vague questions of morality in this nasty place (the moral choices you make shape his good and bad karma), but there rarely seems to be any point to it all. For that matter, there isn't any truly defined sense of good or evil, either. Even the "good" guys aren't averse to a self-serving murder or two. And when you reach the final story reveal, it evokes barely more than a shoulder shrug.

Gameplay itself boils down to running around a huge open world, crafting gear, pursuing violence-drenched quests and battling scores and scores and scores of human foes as well as exotic, multi-limbed beasties. These battles require quick shifts between bludgeons, knives, shields, pistols and powered-up zaps, and they can be a challenge at first. But after a while they morph into a mind-numbing, never-ending repetition of blood-splattering whacks. The game's profusely foul language, peppered with everything from blasphemies to f-bombs, reinforces the game's grating grind.

As Zachariah gathers teammates, there's even a sexual component that feels oddly outside the main storyline. With the right combination of dialogue choices, Zach can find himself embracing and kissing one of several female or male characters and tumbling back (fully clothed) into bed with them. It's just one more problem in an already problematic game.

In the final assessment, The Technomancer's initially intriguing storyline falls badly short of just about any criteria you might define for what makes interesting RPG. And it falls badly short when it comes content criteria, too. What we're left with is just a great big open and empty world … in more ways than one.

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!