Trauma Center: Under the Knife
Review by wolverinefan
"A really good game but..."
I've enjoyed most of the games that Atlus has released and I have to admit that I didn't even know they made this game. The concept sounded solid enough and was the main reason I bought a DS. It almost lived up to my expectations but the game has a few shining flaws in it. Let's begin!
The story is simple. Dr. Stiles (DS... hahaha... oh god, please stop) is a new doctor and you get to do all of his operations. Sounds great right? Too bad Dr. Stiles is unlikable in everyway, up until about halfway through the game. Then throw in the new virus plot that feels like a lame alien plot line and it just drags the game down. The characters have dilemmas and all that stuff but I couldn't help but get annoyed by many of them. The plot does work though but it could have been better.
The graphics in the game are very basic. The body looks very tame, no great details are done. Inside the body it looks right; the viruses all look fun ECT. Cut scenes are done with anime like characters. They look nice but it's a bunch of still images. The graphics aren't pushing the system to the limit but they do work.
I usually don't find sound to be a major factor in a game but it's a fault of this one. First off, the music is good, fits the game and it sounds nice. Nothing to write home about but it does work. The sound effects are pretty basic, nothing special. The problem is the voice acting, or lack there of. Your lame assistant loves to yell "doctor!" a lot. It usually means "hey, stop operating and look at the top screen" Oops by looking at the top screen you have read useless information and have killed your patient... Oh well. Personally, if the DS could handle voice acting it would have been great to have the nurse talk to you and not have the stupid call button pop up and slow down the game play or all of the other distractions she causes.
The control in the game is all done with the stylus but there's a problem. The game fails to tell you how to do some things. For the most part there are no problems with needle work or suction or cutting and what not. The problem I had was the game would not recognize when I was trying to close a wound with my clamps or tweezers or whatever. In the end I would just jab the spot and hope it would close, it was a 50/50 thing. That isn't fair to the player though. Also, I did have problems with bringing fluid up into the needle; sometimes a large amount would fill with the stroke but sometimes hardly any. It felt really random...
Actually, speaking of random, that's also how the game plays. The normal operations are fun. There's one where the person's heart keeps stopping during the op and you have to stop and massage it to get it pumping again. That adds stress and keeps things fresh but as soon as the virus is introduced you're bored to tears fighting the same 7 types. Most of which don't appear near the end and some are just random. A few operations are based on luck. One virus has two things floating around and they need to touch and join, then you suck them up. But a lot of the time they never join and when you have two sets going at once it can get rather tough. Also, the spiky virus is cheap unless you know how it works and after reading how it works I still have no clue. I would just use healing touch and yank everything out, cut it all and pull the skin.
Let's talk about the actually game play. Each side of the screen has a selection of tools ranging from stitches to gauze to gel to needles to a laser. It's all there and they all need to be used. It takes a while but you'll get the hang of switching them. Just touch the tool and then use it wherever. It's very simple and that's all you really do in the game. Most levels have a 5 minute time limit which cheapens the game a bit in my opinion but there is one mission that has a 10 minutes time limit. I never really found the time to be a problem though.
The game offers 36 operations plus 8 bonus missions that are insanely. Very few people at the time of this writing have been able to complete all 8 of the X missions. They are just that tough. The game also gives you a grade at the end of each operation. C, B, A and S rank. C is the most common and to be honest there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind why you might get a low score and it's scary that some of the harder levels were the only ones I got an S rank on. Its okay though if you've gotten a C and want all S because the game offers a mode where you can replay all of the missions again. The problem is the fact that the game is forces you to sit through the stupid talk of your nurse during the operations. This wouldn't be a problem if you didn't have to hit the call button on the touch screen. This really slows the game play down and while the timer does stop during that chatting time it really can upset your operation.
The game took me just over 6 hours to finish. Not sure if that's good but it took me 2 months to beat. I found that I had to stop after every few operations because I would get so frustrated with the game. The thing is, the game is fun but the cheap levels and annoying chatting during the operation can really get to ones nerves. I really don't see myself going back and playing this game again after beating all of the missions but because it's an Atlus game you know that it'll be rare after 6 months.
If the game seems interesting to you, then pick it up. Just keep in mind that the plot does go a bit sci-fi about 1/8 into it and may take away the fun of just a normal operation. I slightly wish I hadn't bought it because nothing has ever caused me so much frustration. But the game does make your hands sweat and shake. No other game ahs done that to me and nothing feels better than beating that one operation that has been troubling you for days.
Story - 6/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Control - 7/10
Game Play - 8/10
Replay Value - 4/10
Final Score - 7/10
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/14/05
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