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

After 23 years of cranking out generation after generation of Pokémon video games, you’d think that there couldn’t possibly be anything left to add to one of these little creature-catching romps. I mean, they are what they are, so just keep following that winning formula, right?

Wrong.

The latest Pokémon tandem has all the cute critters and send-them-into-battle charm fans of the franchise have come to expect. But these two games’ designers aren’t resting on their laurels here. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield (two essentially mirror-image games with exclusive Pokémon variants) are packed to the Magikarp gills with improvements. In fact, they may well be among the best gotta-catch-‘em-all entries you’ve ever played.

Dynamax Me, Please

OK, as I mentioned the basic idea here is pretty familiar: You start off as a young Pokémon trainer who gets to pick from one of three little Poké starters and then heads off across the land to capture and train up a full team of these colorful “pocket monsters.” You must successfully complete eight Pokémon gym challenges, and eventually you’ll earn the honor of being dubbed a Champion and Pokémon master. As for the games’ changes, well, they show up in all the pocket monster nuts and bolts that have been tweaked and retuned here.

One of the first things that young gamers will oooh and ahhh about is something called Pokémon Dynamaxing. It seems that in the Galar region—the Great Britain-like island where this game takes place—special power-rich areas allow Pokémon trainers to pump up their creatures to about 100 times their normal size. And so the leaders of Galar built big ol’ stadiums on those power spots so that Gym challengers can show off their’ gigantic Pokémon’s moves in front of thousands of cheering spectators. It’s a nice, flashy, super-move addition to the game’s Poké-vs.-Poké fun.

The real plus to these new games, though, is the smart streamlining of gameplay, a feature that’s wisely added in for the sake of young and old. For those who have played lots of these games, for instance, the AI is designed to intuitively let you skip hearing all of their tutorial details. If you fully understand that a water-type creature has an advantage over a fire-type in battle, you simply need to say yep when a character asks if you know how things work. And if you step up and start chucking out Pokéballs to capture a new creature, the game doesn’t even bother asking if you understand how that side of things goes.

Capturing Pokémon is made easier, too. Instead of wandering through the tall grass and encountering some random creature like a mysterious landmine (sometimes to the tune of meeting the same Oddish or Zubat a gazillion times) you can see the wild critters as they peacefully mull about, picking and choosing which one you’ll face. They’ll come running your way if you’re making too much noise, but generally, if you don’t touch them you don’t have to fight them.

Into the Wild

How do you level your guys ups then, if it’s not through constant battles? Ah, that’s another nice tweak.

Pokémon Sword and Shield provide a couple of special terrains in something called the Wild Area. At first those flat or hilly stretches look like bland patches of grassland and desert sand. But they’re rife with all sorts of Poké. They’re also home to Pokémon dens: small holes in the ground surrounded by a short wall of rocks.

And if there’s a beam of power radiating up from these dens, then trainers can jump in to be part of a Max Raid battle against a wild Dynamaxed Pokémon in that subterranean lair. (You can have some local, online-connected friends jump in to help you with the battle or the game will choose three random AI trainers to help.)

These Max Raids are always fun and often challenging. And you can also capture some interesting creatures when you win. But more important is the loot you pull out of the den upon victory. There are Rare Candies and various sized Exp Candies (ranging from XS to XL) that give you the ability to quickly level up your crew of Poké without the need for excessive grinding through scores of repeated battles. Not only that, but if you need the specific services of a weak Pokémon that you stored away in your Pokébox several Gym stops earlier, you can quickly level him up to speed with the rest of your current team.

The Wild Areas are a very nice addition that you can quickly travel to at any point in the game. And instead of spending hour after hour searching and grinding, you can invest in short stretches in preparation and Max Raids and then head back to the Gym challenge fun.

It’s a win-win for beginners and for old Poké pros, too. And on top of those things, there are lots of new Pokémon to catch; shiny variants to hunt; a new group of troublesome human thugs to send packing; some other battling mechanics to enjoy; and some nice lessons about friendship and the benefit of perseverance.

Any added problems? No, not really. In fact, during the 30 to 40 total hours of story play, pretty much all of the past games Eastern-tinged spirituality has been stripped away. Your captured, low-level critters still “evolve” into another, more powerful species in the course of the game. But even that is treated as little more than a natural part of the Pokémon lore.

So if you’re one of those fans who’ve, uh, gotta play ’em all, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason not to do so here.

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

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Nintendo Switch

Publisher

Nintendo

Released

November 15, 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!