Wii: Trauma Center- New Blood
Reviewed by: Clarence Lum
Nov 20 2007
Atlus’s newest installment of its adventure style puzzle game places you in the center of what must be the most active operating room in America’s largest medical institution. Like the other games which share the same name, the game is set in the near future where medical technology has progressed significantly. You are provided with the best tools available; stabilizer to increase vitals, instant healing gel, lasers to burn away whatever might be ailing the patient as well as your own players magical “healing touch”. Interaction with patients often is minimal seeing as they are often in terrible health and you’re tinkering with their innards. Cut scenes between operations tell and drive the loosely assembled story which provides at least some context as to why you’re performing some of the suguries.
Action in the game is entirely done with the Wii remote, allowing to be reasonably precise (as precise as your hand can hold the Wii remote still) with the tools provided. Though the base gameplay hasn’t really and doesn’t really change – you’ll be doing an awful lot of sutureing, scalpeling, forceping and applying medical gel – the challenges presented to you keep the game fun and interesting. And the introduction to the newest in biological weapons makes this game really challenging. Past games have been known to be difficult, mostly because saving a patients life will degrade to a manic race of drawing on the screen and selecting tools while medical anomalies cause the patient to quickly drop in vitals. The newest New Blood remedies the often sharp increases in difficulty by providing a cooperative story mode. In fact, many of the operations feel as if they really can’t be done alone, and when you reflect on the past games in the series it really seems like they weren’t as well.
The games operations are comprised of many mini games all collected in one operation for you to complete. Often times, you get a set of instructions as if you were an actual doctor, and often require you to experiment a few times to figure out how things are to be removed or inserted. The game is well paced, introducing a new tool every so often so the player isn’t overwhelmed from the get go. But once the tutorial chapter is complete, the complex toolset becomes quick to traverse (controlled by the nunchuck) all of which make for great use of the Wii remote. After a period you’ll almost instinctively drain blood, close a wound with the forceps and suture it closed.
A bulk of the story is driven by a lot of text with bitmapped characters and backgrounds. The operations themselves are done in 3D though it seems the game could be just as fun if it was completely left in 2D. The basic premise puts you in the shoes of Doctor Markus Vaughn, a master surgeon who chose to practice in Alaska to get away from mistakes made when he was a medical researcher. Marcus’s stay in Alaska is shortened when his old boss comes to recruit him to save lives in a larger hospital. Soon you find that the only reason he recruits you is he needs you to operate on him. This is where Vaughn’s mistakes come back to haunt him as the story spirals off from there.
For the most part, New Blood manages to come without many flaws. The most common issues are selecting the wrong tool on the nunchuck or an occasional lack of accuracy due to your Wii remote shaking a bit more than you’d like. Aside from that his simple yet challenging game still manages to be a load of fun, and also provides replay value should you decide to redo surgeries for higher scores.
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