Review by Windy Kun
"Every Disease has a Cure...Except for Trauma Center's Addictiveness"
Trauma Center: Second Opinion is easily a game that appeals to some gamers, and drives others away. For those of you who will love this game's innovative control system, the experience can easily be just as addicting as playing an appealing MMORPG. Well then, enough about that lets get into the actual Review, shall we?
This game takes place in the Year 2018. Most of the viruses and deadly diseases we know today can easily be cured in Trauma Center's time-line. AIDS? No more threatening than the common flu. The deadly bird flu that Japan is having outbreaks of now? That's ancient history. What about the many forms of cancer we have to deal with today? They have new and improved surgical lasers to get rid of the problem cells now. However, the terrorist organization Delphi threatens the world with a new deadly virus, GUILT. (Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin).
Now, you, as Dr. Derek Stiles, who just got out of Internship at the local Hope Hospital down in Angeles Bay, are just starting out your full fledged Doctor career, albeit reluctantly, as you don't really have any idea what you're doing at first. You're assisted by a vast amount of Hospital staff, such as doctors, and nurses, who aid you in what you need to be doing. This can easily get annoying really fast if you're spoken to in the middle of an operation procedure. On top of that, the game is primarily about surgery, so most people will find the story text annoying and in the way, but you will do well to read it on your first time through in case you have no idea what to do in the next operation.
For the next doctor, recently transferred from Japan, we have the lovely Dr. Nozomi Weaver. She works down at Santa Balboa, running around between hospitals. She's on transfer program from Japan and she's rounding off her first year in America. She certainly has the skills to keep up with what Dr. Stiles receives later in the game. (I would say what, but that would obviously be spoilers.) Once you reach Chapter 6, the two doctors' team up to eradicate the world of GUILT once and for all.
This is one of the three areas in my review material where the game truly shines. The character art is fantastic, done in a more realistic Japanese animation (anime) style. Most characters that actually have art (most of the patients don't, but some do) generally have realistic emotions that go along with their dialogue. Then we have the actual operation artwork. Before you make your incision you have a nicely designed human body, though most of it is browned out so you cannot distinguish any features. Inside the patient, you'll find very beautifully designed internal organs and blood vessels, pretty much better in every way compared to your standard biology textbooks. The game looks even better if you have HDTV, using the special Wii cables. (Should you spend 50 bucks just for better picture? I can dig it.)
I, of course, judge the HDTV through screenshots that various other famous gaming websites have gathered. I currently can't afford HDTV myself, but from how my TV looks compared to others, I can CLEARLY tell the difference in graphics quality.
Most people will generally complain about the game being too cartoony, with unrealistic graphics. Please do not listen to them, Trauma Center's graphics are just fine for the age we live in today, and I don't really think this would look as good on another system as of right now. (Well, it would, but it wouldn't play nearly as well, which is what the next review section is.)
Gameplay: 11/10 - KEY GAME FEATURE
Here is where the game is at its best. The controls for this game are simply stunning. The game makes full use if the Wii remote infrared sensors, unlike some games for the Wii that I've played where you could still have the pointer off screen and still play the game properly. You play this game primarily with the Nunchuk attachment, since that's what you'll be using to switch tools. As soon as you open up your patient, you'll need to gain the speed and accuracy of a real doctor. That is the key to doing well in actual surgery after all.
The TRUE gameplay comes into play during actual operating. You need to keep your patient alive by healing all the patients' wounds and abnormalities while keeping the patient's vitals at a steady level. These vitals are monitored on the upper left and are designated by a number of 0-99. (99 is not always the maximum though) Granted, if the vitals ever reach zero, you will have failed the operation, and consider your medical license lost and many malpractice suits to assault you. Generally you wont need to have the vitals maxed out throughout an operation, but it helps your score if you raise them just as you're about to close the patient up.
Most tools you will use are simple point and press the A or B buttons to use. Most gamers believe this doesn't really opt for realism and I agree, but then you need to remember this game takes place in the future. For all we know, you only need one hand to stitch effectively. I for one though, would've liked the stitches to be controlled by alternating both the Wii-mote and Nunchuk attachments. However, the uses of some tools are very well done, such as Forceps. You use these by holding down both A and B at the same time. Being on opposite sides of the Wii-mote, this gives you an impression that you're actually squeezing a pair of forceps together.
One of the new additions to Trauma Center, and one of my most favorite tools in the game, although you only get to use it for two operations, is the Defibrillator. This tool takes COMPLETE advantage over the Wii's motion sensing technology, and it would've been better if we could've used it more often. You actually have to push both the Wii-mote and Nunchuk towards the screen like you're pushing the pads onto the patient, and then press both Z and B buttons like you're initiating the shock through the pads.
Then we have the most crucial part which I look for in any game, which is...
Difficulty: 9/10 (Not factored into the average.)
Don't get me wrong, the game has three difficulty levels where you can tone down the difficulty (basically just start with more vitals, lower the rate of vital loss, etc.) but I'm basing this review off the most difficult, which is Hard mode. Hard difficulty will truly give you a run for your money on the later operations. Sure, it starts out easy, with your nurse assistants babying you through the first three or four operations. A few operations later though, and a beginner might not be able to cope with the rapid vital loss that certain procedures take out on your patient. When you find operations too hard, you can set the difficulty back a notch whenever you want during the main story simply by pressing Z or C. If you still find the game difficult on Easy, then you just need practice! Practice makes perfect after all, and you'll likely need it to improve your overall operation speed, which is required on two of the last episodes in the game.
But wait, there's more! Complete the game and didn't find a challenge for some reason? Look no further, just load your clear game save and you'll have the hidden X operations. Seven of the toughest operations in the game, which is basically HEAVILY increased difficulty of the seven types of GUILT. Even if you had a relatively easy time with the main game, you can and WILL struggle on the X operations until you've had enough practice to proceed with an operation successfully before you think of what you need to do.
Yes, even though I generally believe the story is lacking in most areas, the audio lacks the most. Voice acting in this game is practically non-existent and/or horrible. I don't really mind this, as I don't like voice acting in the first place. Game music is generally well done, with perfect rhythms to suit the current operation, whether it is a standard procedure (LOL first operation namesake) for the time-line, or operating on a strain of GUILT. However, I feel as though the game really could have used more tracks, even though the music that DID get added was incredible.
Music - 10/10
VA - 4/10
Replay Value: 10/10
Ah yes, the final SHINE point of Trauma Center: Second Opinion. Overall, you'll have around 54 different operations to complete. (47, counting the X missions twice because you can do them with either doctor.) Completing every operation the game has to offer will probably take you around 15 hours. What?!? Don't throw tomatoes at me yet! That's if you just play through the game once. You still have each difficulty to attempt, and on top of that, there is a ranking system for the game, with ranks from Rookie Doctor (C), all the way to Medical Prodigy (XS. Available only on Hard and Extreme), this game will keep you busy for good long time. I'd estimate around 40-50 hours will likely be spent training to perfect yourself. If you do so, you might find yourself getting addicted to this game like crack. Yes, it is THAT fun once you learn to like it.
Rent or Buy?
As I've stated in the beginning of my Review, this game is either a Love or Hate game. It's personally your choice. If you're unsure, at least give the game a try and rent it. It'll be worth at least THAT much money. I personally bought it because I like new ideas, and I got hooked instantly. You never know, you might have a friend who will motivate you into completing this game, just to get you addicted to the gameplay.
Pro's and Cons
+ Innovative controls.
+ Awesome BGM.
- Not for those with twitchy arms. (This can be remedied though, just use two hands for the Wii-mote when you need to.)
- Later operations get repetitive (Especially with GUILT, though they add new twists later.)
Overall score: 45/50 = 9/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/06/07
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