Review by whoopman89
"I never thought that I'd be doing operations with anyone but Solid Snake..."
OK, this is my first review, so forgive me if I fail to adequately explain some features of the game. I'd never really been a fan of the Trauma Center series on the DS (even though, to be fair, I'd not tried them), and when the Wii version came out I was somewhat skeptical about its ability as a game.
A while ago, however, my cousin came to visit and he brought the game with him. He told me about it and how he'd just killed "the final boss". Needless to say, I was somewhat surprised that a game of this genre could possibly have enemies of any type, much less bosses. He insisted that I play the game, so I reluctantly booted the game up in my Wii and began to play. Within an hour, I was hooked, excising tumors, suturing cuts, injecting various medicines, and killing viruses.
Well, I suppose I'd better get right down to grading the elements of this game...
One of the first things that surprised me was how much of a story actually existed in this game. In the game, you play as Derek Stiles, a young doctor in Los Angeles who often neglects his duties in the medical profession. He is backed by several other doctors and nurses that assist him throughout the game in treating the various afflictions you'll face. As the story progresses and the player's skill increases, Derek becomes a better doctor, mastering a power called "Healing Touch" and beginning to treat more serious conditions, eventually facing off against an evil terrorist group and their creation, a deadly virus called GUILT, after an encounter with GUILT in one of his patients.
A second main character exists in the sidequests in the game, a former Japanese doctor whose license was revoked because of her mysterious abilities in the O.R. She becomes more involved in the main story later on, but I'll leave it to you Wii owners to discover the rest for yourselves.
...And for those of you who really don't care that much about the story or don't feel the need to watch events happen again, the minus button on the remote allows you to skip story events and mission descriptions. So there you go, those who need fast action can have it and those who want to watch the story are free to do so at their own pace.
Alright, the Trauma Center series is not known for its stunning visuals, but, then again, neither is the Wii. The game is entirely in 2D, its graphics being on par with those of the original Playstation, possibly PS2. Still, they work nicely given the nature of the game. The organs actually look like the real-life ones that they are supposed to represent, bones are drawn accurately when they are used, and the designs for GUILT are actually quite unique and almost realistic (by supervirus standards, of course).
One thing I feel I must add here is that the game IS only rated Teen. It's not overly gory or violent. Yeah, there's blood, but hey, it's a game about surgery. The patients you treat are going to have injuries and other internal afflictions. It's only natural. Deal with it. If you've got a problem with computerized blood, then go play Wii Sports and leave this game alone.
The fluidity of the controls is quite nice. The game uses both the Nunchuk and the remote (or Wiimote, whichever floats 'yer boat), the Nunchuk being used to select your various tools and the remote to use them. An orange dot appears where the remote is pointed, which allows for more precise aiming when using tools such as the syringe and the laser. The control scheme just seems to fit. Even if the controls seem unwieldy at first, they gradually begin to feel more natural. Soon, you'll be able to slice open patients and suture lacerations at a lightning-fast pace.
The wide range of the motion sensitivity of the remote is also impressive. Not only will you be pointing and clicking, you'll also be rotating various objects and putting them into place, making incisions, and suturing wounds by making a zig-zag across the cut area.
My one complaint is that the Healing Touch is often hard to activate due to the fact that the game is overly critical and requires a high amount of precision and speed for the motions to work properly when you really need it to work. Other than that, however, the controls are basically flawless.
This is where Trauma Center really shines. Atlus did a great job of making the game fun and non-repetitive. You get 8 tools to work with (excluding items handed to you at specific times by your assistant): antibiotic gel capable of healing small cuts and disinfecting things, a forceps for removing foreign objects such as tumors and pieces of glass, a scalpel for making incisions both inside and outside of the patient, an ultrasound (which is sometimes used as a magnifier) for locating things imbedded in an organ, a laser for incinerating tumors and certain types of GUILT, a drain for removing excess fluids, a needle for suturing larger wounds and incisions, and a syringe for injecting various medicines.
These tools are all used frequently throughout the game, which helps to keep it from becoming repetitive. The tools are often used in various, sometimes unorthodox ways, which helps keep the game interesting. In one mission, the scalpel was used as a screwdriver instead of a cutting device, and in another, the drain was used as a weapon rather than more of a passive tool.
Although it is required that you remember how to deal with different afflictions in order to advance, no two missions are the exact same. You'll be removing tumors, healing car crash victims, disarming a bomb, transplanting a kidney, reconstructing a broken bone, and, of course, killing GUILT. These are just a few examples of the vast number of things you'll be doing throughout the game.
The variety of GUILT also helps to keep the game fresh. They are the so-called "enemies" in this game, which makes the game into much more of an action title rather than a puzzle. There are 7 different types of GUILT in the game, and each has its own unique way of being defeated. For example, the type known as Triti (which I know brings unhappy memories to those who have faced it) is more of a puzzle than the other types. If it is not dealt with correctly, it will respawn faster than the player is able to remove it. The other types of GUILT have their own unique properties, which must be taken into consideration if the player hopes to overcome them and the final battles of the game.
Don't be deterred by this high mark. The game DOES get REALLY hard in the last few stages, but it's actually a good thing. The challenge is good, and the learning curve works in such a way that you should be able to easily master a technique before having to use it in a dire situation where the patient is in danger of dying quickly. When you lose, you feel more like it was your fault rather than the game being cheap. I actually feel bad when I lose a patient, especially if it's to a particularly nasty GUILT. On the flipside, if you feel the need to take out your aggression on the game, there are many easy ways for you to kill a patient quickly and satisfyingly...I admit, I'm guilty of stabbing a patient with glass shards when I kept losing. But practice seems to pay off surprisingly well.
The player can adjust the difficulty level at any time, so if you struggle on a mission, try doing it on a lower difficulty level before moving on. The one exception comes with the "X" missions that arise after the game is completed. These missions are preset to "Extreme" difficulty, and oh do they fit that name well. Each is an intense fast-paced battle against a certain type of GUILT, where the patient could potentially die in literally seconds if the proper actions are not taken quickly. The first time I tried the first mission, I lost before the GUILT even revealed themselves due to fatal blood loss. It took less that 30 seconds. It's that tough.
The grading system is also somewhat tough, ranging from a "C" (Rookie Doctor) to "XS" (Medical Prodigy). Even if you do everything perfectly, it is still really difficult to get an XS on any mission other than the X1-X7 missions.
Since the missions are all unique, it adds much more replayability to the game than if the missions were similar. Beating the game on varying difficulty levels and getting better grades also acts as an incentive to keep playing again and again.
Plain and simple, the game is just fun to play. You can come back to it any time and still get the same experience that you did the first time you played. I also found that it's fun to play with friends. On one occasion, it was chosen over Guitar Hero as the game of choice.
Final verdict: 9/10
This game has great gameplay elements and uses the controller in an effective and natural manner. The story is also quite interesting, and the difficulty perfectly complements the point in the game reached. I'd suggest buying this game as soon as you can if you have the Wii. It's more than worth the 50 bucks you need to shell out for it...Why are you still here?!! Go out and buy this game!!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/20/07
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