Friday, April 27, 2007

Trauma Center: Second Opinion (Wii)

There was an article over on GameSpy awhile back about how innovation in games is overrated And I agree with them - there's nothing wrong with an incremental evolution of an old formula. But it is quite refreshing when something totally different comes along. Trauma Center: Second Opinion is one of those games (links: GameSpot, GameSpy, GameFly). In it you play the role of surgeon, using your wiimote to slice, dice, and stitch your patients into good health. It's the sort of experience that couldn't really happen on any other platform (save the DS).

I was surprised by how approachable they made a game about surgery. I've had people with almost no experience with the Wii jump in and start removing tumors in a matter of minutes. The controls are easy to pick up, but the game is crazy intense. You've got this clock ticking down, the heartbeat monitor beeping, and if you screw up this person is dead. Well, not quite; if you lose a senior doctor scolds you and takes over… even after you've become world renowned super surgeon. I guess they figured the whole "Game Over" screen meaning "You Lost a Patient" would be too much for people to bear. Instead they put in probably the most ego destroying Game Over message ever. But all of this together just builds together to make you feel like a total badass for every operation you complete successfully.

You may feel like a super surgeon while playing the game, but it's a far cry from being medically accurate. I'm pretty sure that most illnesses are not caused by medical terrorism. And I'm positive I've never seen anyone on Scrubs fix anyone by removing biologically engineered creepy crawlies (and obviously Scrubs is the bastion of medical legitimacy). So if you're looking to use this game as training for your future career in medicine… well, good luck with that. I just hope I don't find myself on the other end in the O.R. with some Trauma Center grad smothering antibiotic gel on anything that moves.

Occupation viability aside, Trauma Center is an easy game to recommend. It's fun, makes great use of the wiimote, scales to different skill levels, and is basically unlike anything else out there. Plus chicks dig surgeons.

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