Review by poisson
"An example of what truly intuitive controls feel like on the Wii"
I'll be honest, I never played the original game for the DS, Trauma Center: Under the Knife. Therefore, I won't be able to tell you how Second Opinion, the Wii version of the game, compares. What I will be able to tell you, however, is that this game is perfect for the Wii, making it seem like the Wii was it's original platform. It's fun, easy to pick up and play, and even features some pretty cute nurses. What more could you ask for in a game?
You play as Dr. Derek Stiles, a rookie surgeon with a keen desire to help those in need. Later on, you also play as Dr. Nozomi Weaver, a Japanese surgeon with a troubled past. The game begins with some fairly routine operations such as tumor excisions and broken glass extraction but soon escalates to full blown medical terrorism. As it turns out, just because this is a virtual operating room doesn't mean it has left all the cheesy drama of prime-time ORs behind. The medical terrorism aspect becomes the main plot for the entire game, making nearly every operation to cure different patients of a deadly disease known somewhat symbolically as GUILT. To mix things up, GUILT comes in several strains, each requiring a completely different approach. You have a wide variety of surgical instruments available to you to deal with every problem.
Even with the different strains of GUILT, the game does become slightly repetitive after sometime. Occasionally a new strain is thrown in, but still each operation is just some new combination of the disease, or the disease is a little bit more difficult to fight. The game becomes fun only in small doses, if you pardon the pun. A new gameplay mechanic added roughly halfway is Derek's discovery that he has what is known as the Healing Touch, which is essentially the ability to slow down time during an operation if things become too overwhelming. Dr. Weaver also has this ability, though she always knew. To summarize the gameplay, it's fairly simple and fun, but without much variety.
The cutscenes aren't animated, but rather stills of the character who is speaking will slide out from off screen, and the lines will appear without voice acting. This seems perfectly alright at first, as the characters are done in a well-drawn anime style, but as the plot starts up there are long sections with just dialogue. With no animations and only two or three stills per character to show different emotions, this becomes rather silly.
During the operations the graphics are near flawless, the only problem being the lack of detail and texture in the patients.
This is what truly sets the game apart from many other Wii launch titles. Unlike with games like Twilight Princess where the controls felt tacked on and unwieldy, Trauma Center's controls are so simple and intuitive that you scarcely have to think about what you are doing. Most of the instruments are simply used by pressing A, but the forceps require that you press both A and B, exactly as if you were holding the pair of forceps. Your instruments are displayed in a circle, and you select them by moving the analog stick in the direction of the instrument you want to use. It takes little time to have both the positions and the specific treatments memorized so that you never have to take your eyes off the patient. This is what gaming on the Wii is supposed to be like, automatic, instinctive movements instantly translated onto the screen.
It's not a particularly long game, but it was certainly longer than I expected. There are multiple difficulties and after each operation you complete you receive an overall grade. There have been many instances where I completed an operation quickly, yet my technique was so poor that I was nearly flunked. This, in a way, challenges you to repeat certain operations.
I highly recommend this game to and new Wii owner who wants a game that shows off the Wiimote on the same level as Wii Sports. But you better get it soon, for rumour has it that this game is getting difficult to find.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/01/06
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