Trauma Centre: New Blood
Many of us grow up with intentions to enter the medical profession, or at
the very least we played a few spirited bouts of doctors and nurses with
our broken GI Joes or Barbies as kids. However, it's only a select few who
go the distance to doctordom in adulthood - even fewer who become
surgeons. Why is this? Is it the years of dedicated study that such a
profession entails? Is it the constant pressure that people's lives really are
in your hands? Or is it really just because human innards are incredibly
Before even playing the game, you can just tell that this guy is meant to be the 'cool' guy.
The Trauma Center franchise is back for a second slice of surgeonly
simulation, giving us some idea of the levels of pressure real life scalpel
jockeys face. The first game was quite a landmark upon release. Not only
was it a pretty good game, but it was also one of the few games in the
Wii's infancy that took things a little more seriously, despite the mawkish
TV soapie storyline and a few blips into out-there territory with invented
future super-robo-germy-bugs. Wisely, developer Atlus hasn't messed with
the formula too much, although there are some improvements.
The most notable advance is the addition of two-player co-op mode.
Those who struggle with some of the operations solo will find this a
godsend, assuming a willing participant can be scrubbed up. Instead of
juggling often precise, time-critical surgery whilst keeping a patient's vitals
up, duties can be shared. It's also a chance for the peanut gallery sitting
the game out, who always think they know best, to put up or shut up!
No pressure, though.
Meanwhile, the story element has been amped up with the inclusion of a
voice cast - so now the veritable mountains of text can be heard as well
as read. We're 10 years from the first game, set in the frozen
northernmost American state of Alaska. As one of two surgeons (there's a
guy and a girl this time) it's your duty to perform all manner of operations
- of which there's a far greater variety than in the first installment - on
the seemingly hyper-clutzy local denizens. From an alarming number of
gunshot wounds and car crash injuries through to dud artificial organs and
strains of the fictional 'Stigma' virus, you'll really be earning your BMW
here. Then there's the introduction of the blah sounding and even more
blah looking pus, along with various tumours and failing body bits. Remind
me never to holiday in Alaska, for it does seem a perilous place...
Just like your typical medical soap, there's a seemingly endless line-up of
episodes to contend with (42, actually), plus bonus challenges. Take note
of that last word there, for Trauma Center: New Blood is hard, bloody hard
(if you'll pardon the pun). This is both an intended attribute and a fault of
the game. The original Trauma Center was released for Nintendo DS, and it
seemed very at-home there. Its stylus-based gameplay mechanic was
perfect for the precision needed to make the game work. However, waving
your Wiimote around in the are like you just do care simply doesn't allow
for the precision you get with a DS stylus.
Yes, we have no choice but to do things the old fashioned way!
Unless you possess saint-like patience, frustration won't be a stranger,
especially when your nth operation table death results in the nth repeat of
the guilt-oozing message, "the doctor's failure haunted them both, bringing
them much grief and sorrow." Gah! Being a surgeon is too much pressure!
If you need me, I'll be flipping burgers.