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

If you're a football fan, you approach every year with big hopes and dreams. Maybe this year, my local NFL team's coaching staff will get it together and actually start shaping plays for our offense. Maybe they'll draft that superstar that we've needed for so long. Maybe the players will gel into a hard-nosed team of winners.

Maybe … this … is … the … year!

All we can do is hope.

Turns out Madden NFL fans look at their year-to-year hopes and dreams pretty much exactly the same way. Will this be the year when everything clicks and we find that nirvana of gridiron gaming perfection?

And the answer is, uh, nah. There are always gonna be at least a few snaky disappointments in the woodpile of gaming upgrades and improvements. In fact, even a perfect game would likely have nitpicking critics, if just to say things are too perfect.

That said, Madden NFL 20 is a pretty solid title with great football action. So let's look at some of the new features you can expect as your virtual players explode into action this fall.

Is That a Zit on Your Chin?

First of all, the latest Madden installment looks and feels great. I mean, the gamemakers always try to inject just a bit more realism into every new entry, but this year you really can feel it. The colors pop while nearly photorealistic visuals somehow feel a bit more soft and natural. And then there are the players themselves. The game doesn't sport realistic facial features for every player in the league, but those that it does showcase look pretty amazing.

The revised player controls, however, are what really make things feel so much better. There's an improved precision and connection to the controls that not only makes the action look and feel much more like what you'd see on your 4K on any given Sunday, but it just intuitively works. With this kind of smooth-running action, gamers can be thinking a move or two down the field rather than worrying about what their digital character is running into.

There are different difficulty levels of play to dial up, of course, so that the hard-core Madden player feels the challenge too. But things are geared so that even a first-timer can pick up a controller and jump right into the grid.

The Next Elite Level

Another boost to the gameplay is something called X-Factor. Fifty of the most elite players in the NFL—such as Madden 20 cover athlete Patrick Mahomes or someone like defensive monster Von Miller—get special, super-duper "in the zone" abilities that you can unlock if and when you meet certain in-game conditions.

And those thresholds have a very believable mental realism about them. Mahomes, for instance, gets a 15 yard boost to his rocket arm after he completes a pass for 30 yards or more. Once he's sacked, though, that perk goes bye-bye.

Now you might think that sounds like an unfair advantage, but it actually adds some realism in certain on-field circumstances. Defensive pressure is improved, and your quarterback choices start requiring a tweak or two, based on who you're facing. Having Von Miller or Kahlil Mack on the line forces you to mentally acknowledge their presence and account for the threat they pose, not to mention the sudden juiced-up burst they may unleash in your direction at any moment.

Franchise-Building Fun

A feature called "Face of the Franchise: QB1" will be fun for fans who want a bit more narrative content in their football play (at least initially). You guide a college second-stringer through his breakout final games of the season, then get a chance to see what it's like to manage the NFL draft cattle call, which entails surviving question-and-answer sessions and combine drills. It's a fun, funny and informative open door to behind-the-scenes activities as your guy makes his way to one of the NFL’s 32 franchises.

From there, you'll guide him through contract negotiations and then into his pro career. Special missions are a part of this process in a given season, too. So if a fellow player is relying on you, for instance, to help boost his production, you might receive a mission to get him an extra 100 yards and a touchdown in a game and in turn receive a team boost.

If you're really into fantasy football, Madden 20 has you covered there, too. A feature called Ultimate Team lets you build a team of your favorite NFL players. You can play games, collect rewards, compete in specific challenges, etc., in this additional mode.

Then, hey, there's also the joy of simply getting together with buds or going online and playing realistic football game simulations with your favorite teams and players.

And Mom Will (Mostly) Love It, Too

One of the great things about a Madden game has always been its ability to easily slip into the family room without much worry. And Madden NFL 20 is no exception. I will say that the thumping action here is probably as realistic as it's ever been. And you will see situations where offensive and defensive players can now be injured and carted off the field. Nothing bloody mind you, but it's still pretty heavy thumping.

Oh, and if you're not a big fan of rap, well, sorry. No Frank Sinatra or arena rock in this soundtrack's mix tape. It seems that hip-hop is the only style of music that gridiron icons play. And those tunes can also usher in some lyrical uses of the words "h---" and "d--n" if you're listening studiously enough. On the other hand, you can also turn the tunes down if you so desire.

So there you have it, another year, another game and another step toward the perfect virtual experience of actually chucking that old pigskin around yourself. Of course, you could actually go out and do just that. That'd probably be fun, too.

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

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Sports

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Publisher

EA Sports

Released

August 2, 2019

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

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!