Review by acidjesus

"I am not a real surgon but I play one on the Wii"

Being a big fan of Atlus games and looking forward to seeing the potentials of the new control system the idea of a surgery game had me quite intrigued.

Story 7.5/10 - Not to give away too much of the plot here is a quick run down: You are a young surgeon with a cocky attitude who is finally tackling major operations and quickly enough learns that his mastery of the surgical world needs a fair bit of work but this can be helped by his "supernatural" ability. The story wont win any big points for its originality or presentation but the dialogue is bearable and there are a few twists and turns that keep it interesting. The story is presented as a bunch of cutscenes using still pictures and textual dialogue which works just fine and if you have played any of the previous Atlus titles you will be used to by now. A lot of people gripe about the lack of FMVs ( full motion videos ) and speech but honestly this game is about gameplay and not the fluff around it.

Audio 8/10 - The audio is just fine in the game and nothing feels too cheesy or annoying. All the different surgical tools have their own unique sounds which add to the experience and the music is a mixed bag of energetic tunes during tense situations and slower much more mood oriented music during the cut scenes. Since it all seems to blend nicely together and doesnt cause major distractions from the game play I wont go too much more into the audio, sufficie to say its good.

Graphics 8/10 - As mentioned previously the graphics during the story mode are presented as still images with a manga flavour to them. This works quite well for the story portion of the game but it wont have you drooling come cutscene time. The actual operation portion of the game is done in a pseudo 3D mode where you are presented with a animated 3D parts of the body onto which you can make 2D incisions and the like. Once again this works just fine for the game, the simplistic style is definitely a good fit for this type of game. So putting this game side by side with some of the more graphically intensive titles on the other consoles is probably not a good idea as that is not the direction the game wants to go. One thing that is worht mentioning is that every single bit of art in this game is quite nice and very polished and makes it quite easy on the eyes.

Gameplay 9/10 - Having never played the DS version I was working with a clean slate here and I have to say this has become probably one of my favorite titles not only on the Wii but consoles in general. The quick and dirty gameplay description would go something like this: Glorified version of "Operation", but there is a fair bit more to the whole experience. To give you an example of how the first mission plays out ( basically the tutorial stage ). You start off with a look over the body on which there is a line with a few dots over it, this is basically your marker as to where you have to make an incision. Now in order to make the incision you first need to clean the area using some disinfectant and then use your scalpel to make the incision.

This breaks down the control scheme into two parts: one which has you use the "nunchuk" thumbstick to select your tools from a circular item selection gui and the second which has you use the "remote" to point at the specific parts of the body and perfom the specific functions. The thing to note is that all the actions seem quite natural and after a few minutes of gameplay you will be selecting surgical tools and weaving in and out of the body without a problem.

There are added elements of gameplay where certain operations evolve as you get into them further. Not to add too many spoilers I will give a quick example, during one of the stages you are presented with a shattered hand which you have to put back together but as you slowly fish out the pieces and reset the bone you realize a piece of the bone is missing and you need scout the open wound to see where it could be hiding.

Once again the style of the gameplay is simple in nature but gives lots of room for quite challenging gameplay. The main screen has three specific parts that also add to the experience, one is the timer which shows you how fast / slow you are going, second being the life meter which shows your patients current status, and the third being the instructions from the nurse which gives you hints / warnings as to what you should be doing.

Controls 9/10 - The game utilizes the new Wii controls very well and it never feels cheesy or like the developers decided to put them in as an afterthought. The most obvious motions you will be performing are cuts / spreading of disinfectants etc etc which require simple strokes and button presses. But there are also more complicated moves which require you to rotate the controller as you are holding on to certain items in order to position them correct, pushing up or down with the defibrillator n order to kick start a heart, performing zig zag and other patterns in order to suture incisions. The controls are tight, responsive, and behave exactly the way one might think a surgeon operates which add to the whole experience

Conclusion: This is quite a slick title that definitely shows off potential of the Wii and will only get better if the series continues. The presentation is top notch, the art is quite good and most importantly it comes with an addictive gameplay that will keep you coming back. The title is definitely not for everyone but if you are willing to try something new which will be a slightly more interesting experience then your run of the mill first person shooter definitely give it a shot as you will not be disappointed.

Things to note:
This game can get quite challenging so wear your wrist straps at all times in order to save your nice big screen tv.
There is no multiplayer as far as I know so you can't have your buddies cutting up people with you.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/01/06

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