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

Well, here we are with the holiday season right around the corner. So, of course, families are considering which toys, games and other gifts they might want to pick up for the kids.

Since the Dark Knight is such a perennial superhero favorite—and a relatively new PlayStation Batman video game was recently nominated for best virtual reality game of the year—it only makes sense that we should strap on our utility belt (and our massive VR headset) and see what this groundbreaking game is all about.

First of all, let me say that Batman: Arkham VR isn't exactly what you might imagine it to be. Yes, you do get to find one of Bruce Wayne's secret passageways into the Batcave and suit up in Batman's gear. You see yourself in a Bat mirror, all stubble-chinned and fiercely cowled. You do get a bat's-eye view of the Batcave, including its snazzy computer analyzers, its rogues gallery of holographic images, its Batarang target range and other puzzle-deciphering activities. You even get to jump in the Batmobile and head out to dig up clues at a murder scene. (Though you don't drive as much as you just teleport from one location to the next most of the time.)

That's all pretty cool. But to be honest, beyond that, this game is a pretty limited and at times a dark affair indeed.

Murder Without the Mayhem

I can't say much about the game's short story without saying too much, so I'll simply report that this game focuses on a murder mystery. A hero that Batman knows quite well has been brutally battered, broken and killed by some unnamed assailant. And as the Dark Knight investigates, other deaths begin to mount. But as the Caped Crusader starts piecing together vital clues, he can't help but wonder if there isn't a rather delirious form of evil at play.

Gameplay wise, this title is much more excited about immersing you in Batman's world than it is actually letting you do a lot of Bat-battling. From the Batcave to Crime Alley to Arkham's sewers, whether looking Oswald Cobblepot in the mug or flinching from Killer Kroc's gnashing teeth, the you-are-there visuals on offer here are indeed impressive. But when you actually want to do something, it's a different story.

Players use the PlayStation Move Motion controllers to control Batman's gloved hands. That allows you the ability to reach for your utility belt and access things such as a forensic x-ray scanner, a quick-fling Batarang or a grappling hook. The scanner, for instance, lets you analyze your surroundings and reconstitute a digital recreation of a battle that may have transpired. With a quick twist of your wrist you can rewind its holographic record, pause or skip ahead. You can also use the device to scan a safe's keyboard for fingerprints.

You do get to move around … a bit. Players can grapple from here to there in a blink, or grab a distant object and pull it to yourself. But most of the time you're pretty stationary, examining a given area or gathering clues to solve the game's mystery. And that lack of ready movement can feel a little strange at times if you're used to Batman's usual run-leap-swing-and-tumble ways.

And if you're also expecting to be able to clench that mighty Bat fist and give some bad guys a good a Bat-beatdown, well, that's another element of this usually physical hero that you won't be engaging.

So if we can't swing and thump the baddies, what then makes this Batgame so Batdark?

It's the Attitude

There is quite a bit of death in this M-rated game. And while there's not a lot of gore here, its groundbreaking virtual-reality rendering lends the images we do see a very realistic—and very grim—feel. For example, we see burned corpses, hologram-defined broken bones and torn flesh in this hyper-visual world. As a result, the game feels dark, dank and bloody. In addition, a swirling, bleak sense of slipping sanity permeates this immersive, goggles-on-your-face experience.

Now, that may not seem like anything new in a comic book milieu that's generally dominated by a totally bonkers madman like the Joker. But Batman: Arkham VR just seems to amplify that craziness in its tale. Even to the point of making Batman himself feel much more creepy.

So Bat fans and VR adapters have a decision to make. There are some immersive things here that want to grapple-hook you into this hero's dark world. Some are kinda fun. But a lot of them are disturbingly dark.

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!