Posted 2 years ago By - Zach R.
If you’re a fan of medical dramas, chances are you’ve already checked out at least one of the Trauma Center games for the Wii or DS. Having played the original two games in the series, I had to wonder just how much gas the old girl had left in her tense and precise gameplay. Atlus’ response to my trepidations about a third game in the series? You ain’t seen nothing yet, kids.
The previous entries in the Trauma Center series have been somewhat limited in scope, focusing mainly on surgical procedures that require steady hands and quick reflexes in order to save patients. They’re also renown for being very difficult to master. This, unfortunately, meant that only the true hardcore fans were getting the most out of the experience. Trauma Team however, spans six different medical professions, each of which has its own unique twists. While the TC faithful can still get their scalpel on with the classic surgical gameplay, you can also take the role of a forensics examiner, orthopedic surgeon, diagnostician, EMT, and an endoscopy surgeon. Opening up the field like this means that even those who’ve never snapped on a set of virtual examination gloves will be able to find something to do. Hell, even if you have played the other two games and just didn’t enjoy them, Trauma Team may just change your mind.
When it comes to straight up surgery, not much has really changed. You’ll still need quick and steady hands in order to succeed. The good news is that with little change, the already solid IR tracking that has been around since the beginning still works like a charm. The bad news is that if you weren’t very good at the previous versions of the game, you’ll still find yourself repeating operations until you can fake your way through it. To be fair, Atlus does give an easy difficulty option which you can change on the fly at the episode menu, but as easy as it is, those looking for more of a challenge should practice up, or prepare to lose patients.
For would-be orthopedic surgeons out there, the gameplay here is probably the most fun of the bunch. It’s not nearly as intensive as standard surgery, and the actual controls are pretty cool. Whether you’re using forceps to reset a broken arm, or drilling a plate in to secure a newly chiseled bone replacement, this is by far one of the neatest professions in the game. Pointing the WiiMote at the screen and guiding a screw into place, or cutting a synthetic bone replica are both handled by dragging the pointer along set paths on screen. While you don’t feel the pressure of having to constantly battle the patients vitals, messing up is still going to cost you, so again, bring those steady hands to work your magic.
Endoscopy surgery is the biggest change to the traditional gameplay. Using the WiiMote like a tube, you’re required to guide the endoscopic camera/surgery tools through the patients body by actually moving your arms like you’re feeding a tube down a patients throat...at least, I hope that’s where they’re feeding it. To do this, you need to move the WiiMote forward in a steady pushing motion. Going too fast may hit arterial walls, and injure the patient, so again, caution is advised. I actually found endoscopy to be the most difficult of the tasks I was given. Having to move quickly is one thing, but you really have to pay attention to everything on screen in order to not miss any problems and have to start over. Of course, everyone’s different, so others could find it to be a breeze.
EMT’s, or Emergency Medical Technicians have an extremely difficult job as well. While the doc’s in the OR have to tend to only one patient, EMT’s will have to tend to as many as any given situation requires. Keeping tabs on multiple patients is relatively easy, thanks to the HUD. But if you become too absorbed in one patient’s condition, you could lose someone if your not paying attention. EMT’s have the most hectic job in the game, though I still found surgery to be more difficult. The cool thing is that EMT’s can improvise tools on the job if they don’t have something. Sure, it’s predetermined what you use, but it’s a neat detail like this that made the game feel more realistic in nature.
If you feel like you need a change from the hectic pacing of the other fields, Diagnostics and Forensics offer a decidedly different path for players. Slowing the things down a bit, these paths are more like point and click puzzle games, rather than the fast-paced, motion-heavy gameplay of the other fields. For Diagnosticians, you’ll be examining patients, asking questions and pin-pointing which facts are the most important. You’ll listen to their heart rate, breathing, and note any abnormalities in their physical appearance.
Of course, these alone aren’t going to tell you much. For that, you’ll need to consult CT’s, MRI’s and Scintograph’s in order to find potential problems. This is where the real challenge lies, as comparing a patients results with a normal scan isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. You’ll literally be pouring over minute details, some of which are extremely easy to miss. What was surprising to me is just how much I actually cared about finding the cause, not wanting to give up until I had the problem diagnosed.
While similar in scope, forensics has you investigating the cause of death. If you’re a fan of CSI, this is likely the mode you’ll enjoy the most. Overall, the gameplay isn’t much different in execution from Diagnostics, though determining the cause of death is a fairly detailed and difficult task.
The one drawback here is that it can become increasingly difficult to know exactly what you’re looking for in each case, as you need to match clues in order to create solid evidence. Sometimes things won’t match up, though a suspected link between evidence exists. Countless times, matching the evidence came down to trial and error in order to get the pieces to fit. Out of all the modes, Forensics was the least appealing to me, simply because after a certain point, the cause of death became obvious, but you’re still forced to piece all the clues together without much in the way of surprises. Still, there are plenty of others who will find more to love than myself, and it does offer up a great change of pace for those looking for something different.
Graphics & Sound
Trauma Team plays out its storylines using static comic book panels. It suits the style well, even if there isn’t a whole lot to comment on. During the surgeries, the level of detail is minimal, so those who may be a bit squeamish around blood don’t really have to worry. Not much has changed from the overall look of the game over the years, but then again, this is a franchise that’s more about gameplay than the looks.
The voice acting is solid, though the music selection is off-color with the title. In contrast to the dramatic nature of the game, there’s a distinctly cheesy soundtrack. The problem isn’t the music itself, it’s the random nature of it.
There are six unique stories on offer here, and watching them crossover with each other is pretty neat. Since half the fun is being introduced to each character, I won’t really comment on the characters themselves. Just know that this isn’t your typical hospital drama story. With all the different disciplines, and a pricetag that’s $10 lighter than the average Wii game, there’s no reason why anyone, whether you’ve played any of the previous games or not, shouldn’t grab Team Trauma.
There is also the option for 2 player co-op, which comes in handy if you’re having a hard time getting through any of the challenges. However, as I previously mentioned, you can also opt for an easier difficulty setting if you don’t have a friend to bring along for the ride.
Trauma Team does a great job of enticing new players with some great new gameplay, while not alienating those who loved the challenge of the previous games in the series. Not everything here is perfect, as tedium can set in for certain professions depending on your tastes. But it’s having the variety of other professions can alleviate that tedium fairly quickly.
+ Cast of characters is bizarre, but fun
+ Excellent controls
+ Visuals suit the game well
- Forensics can be a bit tedious
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Release Date : 2010/04/20
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Atlus
Developer : Atlus
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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8.7 / 10