Category Archives: Free Time

All kind of things I do in my free time

Game of the Month: BioShock 2

At first glance BioShock 2 is just another first person shooter game. The player’s mission is to guide the main character through the remains of the underwater city Rapture, fight mutated humans and security robots and free the main character’s protégé.

What makes BioShock 2 a really good game is the excellent design and the elements of roll-playing and strategy games incorporated into the story:

  • The underwater city Rapture is a fascinating scenario. Its inhabitants managed to build this monument of  human ingeniousness but failed to establish an utopian society. As a result the would-be paradise turned into hell on earth. This is very well reflected in the grandeur of the architecture which is now mostly in ruins.
  • At the beginning the main character’s abilities (and armament) are very limited. Over time he can however pick up two types of genetic enhancements, Plasmids and Tonics. Plasmids provide active powers like telekinesis or the ability to throw fireballs. Tonics provide passive abilities like camouflage or faster movements. These enhancements are however not easy to procure. A few of them can be found in secret locations but most of them need to be bought with a substance called ADAM. And collecting ADAM proves to be challenging as well. The player frequently needs to decide how to make best use of the limited supply of ADAM.
  • Over the course of the game the player encounters a number of minor characters. Some of them are friendly, others are hostile and a few can even switch sides depending on your behaviour. All in all they are very well written and voiced which contributes  to the atmosphere of the game.
  • The player frequently has to defend a Little Sister against fiercely attacking Splicers. But thanks to an arsenal of special weapons like trap rivets, mini turrets and proximity mines it is possible to prepare for such a confrontation in advance to get the upper hand in the fight.
  • The behaviour of the main character during the game decided the ending of the story.

BioShock 2 doesn’t feature an original game concept but it is really well made. Overall it is definitely worth playing and even tops the first game, BioShock.

Movie of the Week: Iron Man 2

Silke and I really enjoyed the first Iron Man movie. It is also one of our favourite Blu-ray Discs not only for its entertainment value but also because of the superb image quality. Unsurprisingly we were both looking forward to the sequel ever since we saw the first trailer.

Last Tuesday we could finally watch Iron Man 2 in a local cinema. Just like the first part it is full of humour, action and amazing special effects. Robert Downey Jr. delivers another brilliant performance as Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. Tony Stark’s attitude towards his status as a super hero is still refreshingly relaxed and his worst enemy is once again his ego. Even after a healthy dose of self-discovery and the unavoidable fight against a supervillain he remains a big kid which really enjoys flying around in his armoured suit and doesn’t take life very serious. This refreshing attitude is what makes this film really enjoyable.

While Iron Man 2 is not quite as good as the first part it is still very entertaining and definitely worth seeing. According to The Internet Movie Database there will be a third movie as well which I’m looking forward to.

The Phantom of the Opera

My favourite musical is probably The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I’ve listened to the orginal CD recording countless times, visited the German production in Hamburg with my mother many years ago and saw the movie in the cinema and on DVD.

Last Saturday Silke and I went to London with two friends from Germany. This trip was only possible thanks to Andy and Michelle who kindly offered to watch our puppy Vader for the day. The highlight of our visit was clearly watching The Phantom of the Opera life on stage. This musical is still shown at Her Majesty’s Theatre where it has been running continuously since it first opened in 1986.

The show was absolutely brilliant all the way from the first note of the overture to the great finale. I was especially impressed by Gina Beck who played Christine Daaé. She has a truly amazing voice and her rendition of the song The Phantom of the Opera was probably the best I’ve heard since Sarah Brightman’s performance on the original CD recording.

It was a truly unforgettable evening for all of us. And I’m looking forward to the next musical that we will enjoy life on stage.