Gaming Review: Trauma Centre: Second Opinion

A remake of a really interesting franchise to grace the Nintendo DS, Trauma Centre, a game about medical terrorism and performing surgery on people appeared on the Wii a long time ago, and it was very criminally overlooked and under-appreciated by a lot of people.

The game itself doesn’t help things, to be honest, being very deceptive about what it is during the start of things. The game is delivered through visual novel based storytelling, with sprites appearing on screen and the characters talking. It starts of in a really strange way, with the story of a guy who’s just become a doctor and doesn’t really know anything, and you operate on car crash victims and people with tumours as you find out what it means to be a real doctor and save lives, and it’s all really nice and the like, but that doesn’t exactly mean that it’s what the game is about….and granted, these easy missions don’t last very long at all, with a very erratic operation featuring an enemy which looks like it belongs in an arcade space shooter appearing in a patient’s lung pretty quickly, the game soon shows it’s true colours of being a very challenging game featuring very interesting gameplay.

See, I think it uses the medicine thing as a front. Some of the viruses(they’re called GUILT as a collective) are very un-realistic, from creatures causing lacerations to creatures being a moving sac of fluid, they use the sci-fi element  to their advantage to the point where it doesn’t take a genius to understand that we’ve moved out the world of realism pretty rapidly and into something that can only be pulled off in a game. You just need to glance at screenshots or youtube videos to understand that this game is NOT what it markets itself as, and it’s not a cheesy medical drama of a game…it’s a sci-fi game using medical science as the backdrop.

The story is a simple one, using medical terrorism to cover it’s bases and explain everything that’s going on (GUILT exists because bad people use it to wage war) and it contains a fair amount of cheese, but hey…you’re not every shown anything to convince you that it’ll be a cutting edge story. Well, I lie…it’s got some really interesting elements which it could use, but it doesn’t. It does have a certain air of “Oh, is that it?” around the story, and that’s a crying shame….but when the gameplay is so much fun, I can forgive it.

The gameplay, the reason why I rate this game so highly is a really simple way of playing it, you use the Nunchuk to switch between the different tools which you can use, some of which are simply operating tools like the scalpel and the stitches, but some are slightly sci-fi like the gel which magically cures small cuts and the laser. The Wiimote acts as your pointer and your hand, with you use to aim the tools. From there, you use the A and B button to activate some of the tools with their clever little mechanics and all the quirks that they have, and you use them on your patients. Granted, you can have some leaps of logic like slashing at the heart with your scalpel and having nothing happening, but again…who cares?

It’s actually really hard to explain why I like this game so much. The story is nothing special, and it lets you down with how unambitious it gets, meaning I think that the best element of the gameplay is by far the really interesting and unique gameplay and how difficult it is. It’s not unfair difficult or impossible difficult, it’s fun difficult. It presents a genuine challenge and has you waving your remote and flicking the nunchuk faster than most games will ever come close to doing, and even has some insane situations like using a camera to light up a patient in a pitch black tunnel whilst operating on them. If the soreness of my wrist and fingers are anywhere near a good indication of how great the game is, it would score an amazing score. However, that’s completely irrelevent, considering that it scores an amazing score regardless and deserves a spot in any Wii owner’s library.

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