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

With the advent of the latest generation of video game consoles, it would be easy to think handheld gaming systems like the Nintendo 3DS have seen their day. But apparently no one bothered to tell game designers that, because titles for this popular portable platform just keep topping the sales charts and grabbing everybody's attention.

Such is the case with Nintendo's Bravely Default, a classic Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) that focuses on the basic elements of that genre … both the good and the not so good.

Light vs. Dark Once More
Gamers in Bravely Default take on the role of an average-but-goodhearted guy named Tiz. He's a country bumpkin who awakens unexpectedly in a nearby town after witnessing his village full of family and friends being swallowed whole by some mysterious, malevolent force.

Tiz soon meets a pretty young woman named Agnés Oblige, a priestess (known as a wind vestal) of a dying religion called the Crystal Orthodoxy. The vestals' assignment: keeping powerful, nearly forgotten, elemental crystals humming along properly. But Agnés' Wind Crystal, it turns out, has been hijacked by the dark entity that's now causing chaos throughout the land.

And so it's time for Tiz, a "shining light" kind of fella, to join with Agnés and two other quirky companions to restore order in quick order. Those companions are Edea, a spunky girl from an enemy camp who wants to change her ways, and Ringabel, an amnesiac ladies' man with a fortune-telling journal. Together they take on the anti-crystal evildoers in the hope of reestablishing a balance between darkness and light once more.

Putting the Brave and the Default in Bravely Default
Of course, a fantasy RPG tale like this involves lots of venturing through vast, colorful lands. That's paired with plenty of dungeon-crawling to gather weapons, stat-boosting outfits and magical skills. Along the way, players hear long-winded explanations about the state of the world and its current predicament. As for the game's action sequences, they consist of turn-based magic-and-sword melees against evil minions, monsters and powerful bosses.

Amid those expected JRPG flourishes and skirmishes, however, is something unexpected: the game's titular "brave" and "default" options. (You were probably wondering what the title Bravely Default could possibly mean, right?) On each turn, the heroes can opt to default their turn—essentially moving into a defense position and banking an extra move for later. Or they can choose the brave command, which will allow them to unleash up to four total moves in one turn to batter foes or revive friends.

Each team member can brave or default in any given turn, allowing some to keep pushing the fight forward while others store up a foe-finishing flurry of fury for later. It's a fun option that gives gamers more control and even the possibility of a safety net in the heat of battling an über-powerful enemy. All in all, there's a fair bit of strategy involved in determining which approach is liable to be the most effective in any given battle.

On top of those gameplay options, the game also offers a diverse "job system" where players can access up to 24 different combat styles and sets of abilities, with stats and skills being assigned to any of the four team members. Finally, I should add that players are also free to swap their characters' magic or fighting specialties as often as necessary to match up with the battler at hand.

Convoluted Metaphysics
So just how battle-y do these boss battles get? Well, there are rapid-fire sword slashes aplenty, but no blood spilled or other nasty aftermath. Swordplay and "light or dark" spell blasts (including healing spells or life force-draining magickings) are accompanied by flashes of light, red or blue splashes of color or black puffs of smoke. When characters are defeated or their strength wanes, they either take a knee or slump forward in exhaustion.

There are other content issues in this T-rater that we need to deal with, though. Some scenes depict drunken characters at a pub. Lightly veiled sexual innuendo shows up. Ringabel regularly discusses his seductive prowess, bragging about "getting into bed" and what it means to be "sexy." A Red Mage is accused of using a "pheramore toxin" to control and "misuse" women. And some of the outfits available for female characters can be skimpy.

The biggest poke to the gaming gut here has to be the game's convoluted metaphysical underpinnings. This is an extremely mystical-minded take on an ancient fantasy world of magical crystals, monsters, immortals and other evil demonic forces. Example: At one point a fairy-like character transforms into a Jabba the Hutt-looking demon bug with multiple arms and a growling voice.

It's true that Bravely Default's worldview weirdness is sometimes kept at arm's length by its cartoony characters and light vs. dark heroic thrust. Still, young players immersed in this elaborate 3DS narrative will frequently find themselves wading through murky religious themes fused to brooding fantasy elements.

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



Readability Age Range







Record Label




Square Enix


February 7, 2014

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!