|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Atlus||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 20, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
October 15, 2007 - It's common knowledge among many gamers that the Nintendo DS is possibly single-handedly responsible for the rebirth of a true "alternative" genre. After all, the DS has undeniably churned out a number of "out-there" titles, some of which include Pac-Pix, Feel the Magic, Phoenix Wright, Touch Detective, and Trauma Center. That last one, in particular, blew the minds of many gamers. Combining touch screen control with a wonderfully developed plot and tough-as-nails gameplay, Trauma Center was a little-played yet very quality surgery emulation game.
The Wii remake, titled Trauma Center: Second Opinion, was disappointing to fans only because it was nearly identical to the DS original. But the recently announced Wii game Trauma Center: New Blood is giving Wii owners something to really celebrate.
The premise behind the past two Trauma Center games is interesting and unorthodox. But don't take for a minute, though, that it's not fun because of that. Rather, Trauma Center is a very cool, well-written game series that has the main character performing surgery. Yes, it may sound crazy. And yes, it may not sound like much fun. However, once you really delve into the incredibly unique, difficult, and superbly-controlled gameplay, you will no longer be surprised that Trauma Center is such a well-received game.
The plot is set up early on in New Blood, and will satisfy both fans of the series and newcomers. The game takes place 10 years after Derek Stiles and his encounter with the bioterrorism organization known only as Delphi. You follow the story of two doctors, Markus Vaughn and Valerie Blaylock, beginning with their medical practice in Alaska all the way to their involvement with the counter-bioterrorism organization known as Cadaceus. The first Trauma Center featured a fantastic story, and New Blood is certainly no exception. Expect numerous plot twists, expert storytelling, and top-notch character development.
At least in terms of core gameplay mechanic, New Blood doesn't really change anything from the past two games. You will still use a number of operating room tools, all controlled by the Wii remote, to tackle patients' ailments. These range from ordinary accidents (broken bones and the like) to futuristic, sci-fi viruses that threaten the entire human race (another "harbinger of doom" -- as if GUILT wasn't enough).
The controls in New blood are top-notch and really contribute to the overall fun-to-play mentality surrounding the newest Trauma Center game. Actions that you perform with the Wii remote are represented in the game, in a 1:1 ratio. The controls are surprisingly responsive and intuitive and work very well. Button presses are kept to a minimum, and the variety of tools that you will use to save your patients is wide and original.
Taking on New Blood's many operations is no simple feat, however. The first two Trauma Center games were noted for their very high difficultly level; indeed, the last few levels of both games were nearly impossible. That said, though, there is a very gentle learning curve; the game does a fantastic job of really orienting you with the gameplay. However, once it's taught you something, you're expected to know it, and you can be sure that it'll come up frequently later in the game.
Second Opinion featured a much-celebrated (by fans of the series anyway) option that allowed you to select your difficulty mode. Normal itself was actually quite difficult, Easy was for people new to the game, and Difficulty was only for those who believed themselves to be Trauma Center gods. There's no official word yet on whether or not this will be a feature in New Blood, but there's a good chance that it'll make a return.
But in case varying difficulties is not enough, New Blood also offers a stellar option that was not available in the two previous Trauma Center games: cooperative game play. Having trouble clearing a certain operation? Get a friend to help you out. Two doctors on the same operation will no doubt make the operation easier, and playing with a friend is always fun. And fortunately, the co-op mode in New Blood is not at all shallow. Rather, co-op play actually differs significantly from single player gaming. Challenges may be more difficult, and there are certain actions that a specific player must perform.
Aside from co-op play, New Blood offers a number of minor improvements over its two predecessors. Most exciting, though, is the fact that New Blood will feature full voice-overs. If you don't want to have to read text well, then you won't have to. With the quality and attention to detail that Atlus has imparted to its two previous Trauma Center games, it's safe to assume that the voice acting in New Blood should be good. New Blood will also feature improved graphics and an online leaderboard, allowing you to see how your high scores match up against with those of players around the world.
For both fans of the series as well as casual Wii owners, Trauma Center: New Blood is shaping up to be a must-buy title. An all new cast of characters and story arc, along with fantastic Wii gameplay, are looking to put Trauma Center on the list of best Wii games. If you're looking for an addictive game, a difficult game, or just a hands-down fun game, then Trauma Center is for you. Keep an eye out for New Blood when it is released mid-November.
CCC Freelance Writer