Review by ruesap12
"Cutting someone open has never been this fun!"
From my understanding, this game is basically a port of the game Trauma Center: Under the Knife for the Nintendo DS, but with control changes to accommodate the Wii remote, and extra missions. I am not basing my review off of this, though; I am reviewing Second Opinion as a stand-alone game.
Trauma Center: Second Opinion is a . . . well, it's hard to place it into a genre. It would fit into Puzzle, strategy, simulation, adventure, and maybe a few others. If you could make up a genre for it, it would be "surgery semi-simulation". Basically, it's a surgery game, but it does not feature real-life surgical procedures (well, maybe some, what do I know). It's published by Atlus, the same people who make the excellent but rare Tactics Ogre series. Because of limited production, this game too will soon be rare, just like its DS predecessor.
You play as Derek Stiles, a rookie doctor that looks like he's no older than 28, but we'll assume he's 35. He has a strong desire to always save the patient, no matter the cost. He begins with a few standard surgical procedures, but as Derek's abilities develop and become more complex, so do his surgeries. The meat of the game soon comes when Dr. Stiles must help to fight off a string of viruses created by terrorists. He will also discover that he has the Healing Touch, making him a sort-of "Chosen One" of doctors. The story is definitely not cliche, but the concept is. We've all played games where you're the chosen one and you alone have to defeat the enemies . . . but if that's what makes games work, then does it matter?
The surgeries themselves are basically minigames that utilize the Wii-mote to its full potential. You will point the Wii-mote at the screen, and it will be a pointer showing where you are on the patient. With the nunchuck attachment's control stick, you can select your tools, 8 in all. This a nice variety, encompassing the doctor's entire arsenal: antibiotic gel, scalpel, stitches, forceps, etc., to the less conventional tools: lasers, ultrasounds, and others. Using the tools, you maneuver to the areas designated, usually by a nurse, and operate. The system is difficult to get used to, especially for first-time Wii players, but it is very innovative and it plays well.
That's all the gameplay there is. That's it. But, there are over 30 operations in all, tied together by story cutscenes. And by cutscenes, I mean still anime cutouts taking turns talking to each other. However, many of the operations are the same, as there are only 8 different kinds of viruses you must fight. During the first playthrough of the game, though, the operations don't feel the same, as you are wowed by the intuitive controls. Overall, Trauma Center's gameplay involves an interesting story, excellent concepts, but it is dragged down a bit by repetitiveness.
Ah, graphics. The bane of Wii launch titles, compared to the near-realism of Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 titles. With Trauma Center, this is no different. The game appears dated, and very closely resembles the DS version graphically. This mediocrity shows the most in the cutscenes, which, as previously stated, are simple anime cutouts taking turns talking to a two-dimensional background. We've seen this before so many times, and it is not impressive on a next-generation console.
During operations, however, the graphics go for more of a cartoonish look, and succeed. And by succeed, I mean they get the job done without being an eyesore. You can clearly differentiate between the "good" stuff and the "bad" stuff inside of the patient, but nothing is terrible to see. By pulling off the cartoonish look, though, the textures of the patients are bland, and the "wow" factor is lacking. Graphically, you won't be impressed with this game.
Compared with other Wii Titles, this game's audio delivers pretty well. As it is not an action-adventure game, don't go into it expected a hardcore soundtrack. It's not an RPG: don't expect an orchestral masterpiece (well...play the game). The music of the game, casual and laid-back (on most levels), fits the style of the game, and therefore is not a distraction. The sound effects of the game also do their job, although some are disappointing. I would have liked to hear my tools operate on the patient, but maybe that's just me. There is attention to detail, though; on intense operations, you will distinctly notice the patients heart beating in sync to his pulse, and that is a pretty cool thing. Audio-wise, Second Opinion stands out in a different sort of way.
This is the category that will make Second Opinion remembered: it is VERY hard. In later levels, the patient's life really is on the line, and one screw-up can get his heartbeat critical. And this is just on easy difficulty. On this difficulty, I have trouble getting an A-rank on most later missions, and with a highest rank of XS, there is a definite challenge. Add to that 3 difficulty levels, and weak gamers might want to turn back. If you like a challenge, try acing every mission in this game.
Second Opinion is quite long, too. The actually story itself is relatively short, and can be beaten in about 8-10 hours. There are 30-some operations, but the overall challenge will drag the game out. You'll want to keep playing, addicted to the game, trying to beat your high scores. And then you'll move onto the next difficulty . . . This is the sort of game where you'll beat every mission 10 times and brag about your scores.
+Wii controls are uniquely implemented
+Over 30 operations total, and 3 difficulty levels
+A "different" kind of game, with a unique story
+Several cool sound effects
-You don't get to hear the cutting of the scalpel!
-It's a port of a DS game
Gameplay: 9/10 = 36/40
Graphics: 5/10 = 10/20
Audio: 8/10 = 16/20
Ch./Repl.: 10/10 = 20/20
TOTAL = 82/100 = 8/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/02/07
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