Trauma Center Second Opinion


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


For early adopters of the Wii who also own a DS, Trauma Center seems like an obvious choice. The game's inventive, original and stand out gameplay created a popular game on Nintendo's portable hardware unlike any before it. However, if you're a Trauma Center owning DS gamer, the titles somewhat misleading title may disappoint you when you start this Wii update.

traumacenterwii.jpg (54523 bytes)The subtitle Second Opinion suggests a full-on sequel. It's not, and the deceptive nature is enough to turn off some fans. This the same game it was on the DS, just with obviously updated visuals, one new chapter and some minor tweaks to certain patient scenarios.

If this is your first experience with this new Atlus franchise, then there's no reason to ignore this innovative effort. This is the better of the two versions. While tough to categorize, the puzzle genre is where Trauma Center finds a home. After static and empty cinematics breeze by entirely through text (one of the largest disappointments with this Wii version), you're sent to the surgery ward to save a patient.

While blood is spilled, it's simple and hardly gory. Only the weakest of the weak when it comes to bodily fluids should be worried. The anime stylings and intentional lack of heavy detail make it difficult to believe this is real life.

The interface on the Wii is the best reason to update if you want to play through this one a second time. The nunchuck provides rapid access to surgical tools when needed instead of being forced to point and select them. The HUD is better because of it, now sitting out of the way in the lower left corner.

The Wii Remote controls everything else, from scalpels to ultrasounds. A sensitivity option could not have hurt, but even without it, Second Opinion is a fine way to show off the hardware. Making incisions or precise motions incorrectly is never a fault of the controller; it's always a user error. Using an object, such as a laser for finer surgeries, requires the player to simply point, aim and use the A button to fire. The on-screen cursor keeps the player constantly oriented to the on-screen action.

Difficulty remains at the same level. This is a brutal title, and on hard, you could even consider it unfair. The patient's vitals represent the time left to complete the task at hand. The constantly ticking clock adds an unbelievable amount of stress to the proceedings. Making little mistakes such as missing with a tool or using it improperly causes the patient to slip even further towards the light. Video games are meant to relieve stress, not cause it. Trauma Center easily gets a pass here however.

Even as you progress, it's hard not to see potential screaming from this title. Dueling multi-player surgeons could have been the game's saviors, and the next sequel definitely needs it. As it stands, you can always compare best times and scores in completed operations, but head-to-head competition could be thrilling. Also, the story takes the game into a far-out fantasy which isn't surprising given the game's Japanese origins. It would be fine if the entire game offered oddball scenarios, yet there are far too many believable ones that end up feeling out of place instead of the other way around.

For a game to be this innovative and then run directly into a small update is a rather harsh way to look at this Wii launch title. It's a fair view, though it ignores the changes to the interface that makes the game easier to enjoy, but certainly not finish. Full enjoyment from Second Opinion depends on your game play past, and you can manually adjust the score to reflect that.


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Last updated: Sunday, December 31, 2006 09:02 PM