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

There are a lot of video games out there that you might play just for fun: button-crunchers that offer a quick diversion or a chance to unwind after a long, hard day.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is not one of them.

Like the stygian netherworld Dark Souls series, and other infernal titles birthed by the (rather awkwardly named) gamemakers at FromSoftware, Sekiro is not an endeavor of fun, but of frustration and fury. And the game almost seems proud of it.

You see, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is something of a masochistic pursuit that beats you, drawing you close and sneering that you're not quite good enough. So you come back again and again, laboring for nothing more than the hope of proving the game and its makers wrong. And when you finally succeed …

Then things gets harder.

A Tale of Blood and, well, More Blood

The central "hero" here is a Shinobi, what we Westerners would call a ninja, who's determined to serve his young master in feudal Japan. It's a realm filled with constant war, political intrigue, katana blades and blood. Lots of blood. Playing as a warrior named Sekiro, though, you really only need worry about the bloody blade, for in fact your battered guy doesn't know or remember much else.

This particular Shinobi is a beaten-down dude who's lost his memory and his Divine Heir master in a past battle. But when he struggles back to save the boy, he's bested again and has his left arm lopped off by an overpowering warrior. Fortunately for Sekiro, an aged sculptor with a wood chisel brings him back to health and gives him a mechanical arm that can be used as a multipurpose tool and weapon.

Once he's up and going again, Sekiro sets off to (hopefully) find the vaunted Ashina castle and once again attempt to save his boy master. Oh, and he must find a way to wreak bloody revenge on every human, beast, grotesquery and pike-swinging spirit he encounters along the way. The ultimate goal? To survive as you attempt to hack your way through this kingdom of enemies.

But as I've already alluded, you won't. Survive, that is.

That prosthetic arm is helpful—initially giving you a great ninja-like grappling hook to enable you to swing and sneak through the twisting trees, weathered temples, high grasses and mountainous regions. And as you find new pieces to weave into the arm's mechanics, the old sculptor will gift you with such things as the ability to shoot fire or sharp-edged spinning shuriken from your weaponized wood-and-bone prosthesis, or you'll gain attack-avoiding mystical moves and deflecting shields.

But there are scores and scores of sword-bearing combatants here, as well as some 19 mini-bosses and 17 major bosses, that will thump, hack and gut you into submission nonetheless.


In a World to Die For …

As you go, you'll also find the sculptor's hand-carved idols here and there. When killed, Sekiro will resurrect at these small statues. They'll also allow the ninja to essentially teleport between other shrines from that creative wood carver. And if Sekiro prays in those places, he'll be restored to health, too, while also reviving some defeated enemies. (At other Buddhist idols, Sekira can offer certain spiritual items to regain his lost memories and skills.)

The big difference with this game, as compared to others of its ilk, is that you won't find or purchase better levels of weapons and armor for the battles on hand. As the opponents become more and more impossible to stand toe to toe with, you can only move forward with improved observation skills and split-second timing.

With only Sekiro's katana between you and various demon-like foes—ranging from a gigantic white snake, to a headless poison-spewing ape, to a ghostly corrupted monk, to a female swordswoman with blistering speed and magical abilities—you must perfect your parrying skills and dodging abilities, working every possible side-slipping move into a deadly dance. At the same time, you must watch your enemy's tightly woven move-sets and patterns to find that one tiny opening where a razor-sharp blade might slip through in a heartbeat and strike home.

... You'll Die. A Lot.

After experimenting, maneuvering and fighting with a single infuriating boss—sometimes for hours of deaths, resurrections and retries—the final victory blow can feel incredibly satisfying. (Sort of like the sweet relief of lifting a misplaced couch off your foot.) But there's no question that it takes its muscle-knotting, mind-numbing toll.

On top of that, this is a messy, bloody game. It may be intended as an exotic blend of the spiritually fantastic and the realistically ugly, but the frenetic battles with humans, monsters and beasts are blood-spattering affairs that often end in some kind of dismemberment or decapitation. And even if body parts stay glued on, a driven-home blade will still let loose a goopy-gush equivalent to a small lawn sprinkler in a strong wind.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice may not, ultimately, feel as infernally bleak and hopeless as your typical Dark Souls game. But it's still punishing in nearly every sense of the word, taking its pound of virtual flesh.

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, PlayStation 4, PC




March 22, 2019

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!