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

I walk into town, trusty dog at my side, looking to replenish supplies and maybe pick up a better ax. (The one I have just doesn't seem to cleave Hobbes and Banshees the way it used to.) But the moment the townsfolk catch sight of me they all run away screaming. Did I forget to shower? Maybe, but more likely it's my glowing red eyes and the horns sprouting from my forehead that are adding a bit of scare to my stride.

Girls Are Now Welcome
Four years ago the first Fable title was released to buzzing, excited praise for its inventive design. And besides a new storyline, things haven't changed much on this latest page. But there are a few differences. This time around, for instance, players start out their adventure as either a young boy or a young girl. Orphaned in the city of Bowerstone, they're cared for by an older sister until a tragic event and a mysterious blind woman set them on the path to fame, fortune and a to-be-fulfilled prophesy of vanquished evil.

As in the past, all this role-playing action unfolds in a place called Albion. It's a cartoonish, magical netherworld made up of numerous towns, gypsy camps and backwoods roadways. Bandits, trolls, ghostly entities, secret caves and hidden treasures are as common as the hoi polloi.

As players progress through this enchanted land, excelling in strength, shooting skills or the magical arts, they take on quests that earn them money and fame. More importantly, challenges help shape the emotional and moral path that their character will trod. (As well as how pretty they'll look while doing it.)

I Can Clearly Not Choose the Wine in Front of You
You can work for renown and add a bit of sparkle to your smile by protecting a township and rescuing innocents from slathering, sharp-clawed beasties. Or you can choose the wicked route, striking fear in the hearts of men while earning an incrementally more repulsive mug by killing or enslaving.

In a new twist, choices made can even change the very world in which you do battle. For example, as a child, you have a choice to aid the police in your little hamlet or turn to a back-alley element. Years later that simple choice has an impact on the area's financial prosperity and whether right or wrong rules the community roost.

Along with those kinds of choices and adventures, you can get married and have children, sell or rent properties, take on jobs such as blacksmith or bartender, fight all kinds of human and monster enemies, and generally build up your skills and weaponry to eventually face off with an all powerful and maniacal foe.

It all makes up a well-crafted, imaginative, open world that can keep players entangled in its fairy tale-ish tendrils for long hours once they venture in.

But as I'm sure you've already worked out in your head, those choices can also make for problematic play. Along with noble decisions, the game's designers made sure that Fable II allows lots of leeway when it comes to moral indiscretions. Lying, crude language ("h---," "d--n," "b--tard," "a--") and heavy drinking are a few of the lesser infractions. Down a rung from them, you can pull out a sword or crossbow to shoot and dismember the grisly creatures of the forest—and blow the heads off all the townspeople you encounter.

Other fleshly pursuits include initiating straight and/or gay sex, which is as easy as approaching a guy or a gal (sometimes a prostitute) with a come-hither expression and a wallet full of cash. After leading your consort to an open bed, the screen goes black and the bedded partner makes such giggling comments as "You're the best" and "Oh yes!" Also, female characters at times wear revealing clothes, and cross-dressing your avatar is possible.

And then there's the spiritual side of things. Players can turn to temples of light or shadows in their quest choices. The dark side awards fame points for things such as gathering innocents together for a mass human sacrifice—played for "chuckles" with a spinning game-show wheel full of execution methods.

Two Sides to Every Tale
To be fair, nefarious or sordid deeds come with social and trajectory penalties. Having unprotected paid sex, for example, saddles your character with an STD. But the downside rarely equals more than a slap on the wrist. And it certainly doesn't cancel out the celebratory nudge-and-wink that the game pushes front and center. The end result is that even if players set out to stick to the straight and narrow, it's made plain that turning to the wicked side will be lots of fun—when you play through for the second time.

So, though this is assuredly one of the more creative video game titles that will be showing up on wish lists this year, it's also one that readily shows an ugly Mr. Hyde lurking behind all the Dr. Jekyll brilliance.

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

M

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Xbox 360

Publisher

Microsoft Game Studios

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose Trent 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!