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."


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!"


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 hear the name Lara Croft and still think of an overly busty, pistol-packing, short-shorts-loving cartoon, you're behind the times. Today's tomb-raiding British beauty has changed a lot in the two decades that've expired since she crept into her first crypt.

A couple of years ago, Lara and her adventures were rebooted, and she's become a more realistically rendered female action hero with all the wall-climbing, pinnacle-leaping adventure skills that Indiana Jones only wishes he had. And in some ways those character-driven, high-def, cinematically intensive changes make this one of the very best adventure games.

In other ways, though, well ...

Questing and Hanging

Whereas 2013's Tomb Raider had Lara accidentally stranded on a dangerous isle, this adventure finds Ms. Croft setting off on her first official spelunking and artifact-seeking quest. She's looking for the Divine Source. Her archeologist father was ruined, humiliated and eventually took his own life while in a decades-long (fruitless) search for that alleged immortality-granting artifact and the lost city it resides in.

If Lara can follow through on her dad's research, not only might she explain some supernatural things she witnessed while lost on that Island of Yamatai, but she might also be able to restore her beloved father's reputation. But, of course, there's an über-powerful, very wealthy ancient sect called Trinity—think Assassin's Creed's Knights of the Templar—that just so happens to be seeking that powerful artifact, too. And those baddies are willing to kill and destroy anything and anyone to get it.

As that storyline unfolds, we're given a bit more background on this new version of Lara Croft and what makes her tick. But, frankly, it's really all about setting up some good reasons for this ever-nimble, effervescent explorer to be dangling from rocky cliff faces in Syria and axing her way along frigid shears of ice in Siberia. And it allows the game to uncork some very imaginative sequences in vast, environmentally gorgeous locales.

Lara finds and upgrades useful tools—ice axes, wire-spool grapples, rope-arrows and the like—that allow her to go where no man nor woman has gone before. And the cool part of that tool collection is how the game demands that you use them in quick succession to keep Lara going as she leaps, dangles, slides and crashes her way from icy crag to rusty guy-wire, some thousand feet up on a mountain peak.

Lara's frantic (what-next?) acrobatic challenges have definitely been dialed up here to heart-thumping effect. And the environmental puzzles are amped up, too, primarily appearing in a series of side quests and cave-crawling "challenge tombs" that treat Lara to bonus upgrades if she (you) can figure out their enigmatic intricacies.

If that sky-high triple-flip action and crypt conundrum-cooking were all that Lara had to deal with, Rise of the Tomb Raider would have been a very fun, perhaps T-rated puzzle-solver. But it's not. So here's why this game got an M:

Treasure or Torture?

First of all, let's address the violent baddies Lara faces off with. These are morally contemptible sorts who spill lots of gore in cutscenes and in the heat of action. One villain, for instance, is immersed in a twisted religious zeal as he walks around with what appears to be a self-imposed stigmata. And he gouges out the eyes of a minion he's displeased with.

On the animal foe front, a bear will gobble up Lara's head like a breath mint if he's not dealt with properly. For that matter, young Ms. Croft is physically abused in one manner or another throughout the game. And even though she's definitely someone with beyond-average abilities, the pummeling and bloodying of a "pretty young thing" like her feels miserably uncomfortable. (It certainly should feel that way.)

Rise of the Tomb Raider also pushes Lara into a whole new category of grisly. Hey, Lara's always been a gal ready to grab a gun when necessary. But here she's forced by circumstances to hone and fine-tune her blood-letting weaponry skills—with the abovementioned ice ax to various knives, pistols, rifles and sharpshooters—effectively turning her into, by game's end, a one-woman army. Wave after wave of human and supernatural foes storm her way, and through long segments of play, gamers must splatter the goo of literally hundreds of enemies.

And the death-dealing isn't just from a distance. The game rewards a stealth kill where Lara slips up on a foe and snaps his neck with her bow or drives an ax blade into his exposed temple or jugular. Truly, you may sometimes want to silence the foulmouthed baddies you meet (spouting f-words and more), but, really, is this the way to do it?

Considering that our Ms. Croft is painted as the ethical and moral hero of the game, it's disquieting to see the literal dump truck loads of corpses she leaves behind.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Record Label


Xbox One, Xbox 360


Square Enix


November 10, 2015

On Video

Year Published



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!