Wii

North America

Trauma Center: Second Opinion

by Jonathan Metts - November 26, 2006, 1:38 pm PST
Total comments: 10

8.5

Dr. Stiles is still such a cut-up!

If you missed Trauma Center: Under the Knife on the DS, the revised Wii version is a must-play. This is a highly original game that makes very good use of the Wii pointer function. Playing doctor is still challenging, but the newly selectable difficulty levels make the game much more accessible to the average player. In fact, you can bump down the difficulty for a tough operation and then jack it back up for the next one. There is also a fair amount of new content for Trauma Center veterans, although they will be able to charge through the main game quickly.

The story revolves around a young doctor, Derek Stiles, who is fresh out of residency and is starting his new job at Hope Hospital. Derek is a lazy guy who understands little about what it takes to be a good doctor, but events beyond his control soon teach him important lessons about maturity and responsibility. He is accompanied by a beautiful assistant named Angie, who is determined to help form Derek into a great surgeon. After a few routine missions like removing glass debris from a patient's arm or excising benign tumors, the duo encounters a deadly, alien-like pathogen called GUILT which takes on several forms and always attacks the vital organs. Most of the game is spent battling the different strains of GUILT.

New to Second Opinion is another doctor, Naomi Weaver, and her storyline is much darker and more mysterious. Her chapter opens up one episode at a time as you progress through the main part of the game with Derek. After the original story is completed, another new chapter is unlocked, this one bringing the two doctors together for more complex operations and even more fascinating bits of story. In general, the game's plot and characters are well written and genuinely dramatic; Trauma Center definitely would not be the same experience if it just went straight to the operations. When replaying a mission due to failure or to improve your score, you can skip the briefings with the minus button.

The Wii remote's pointer is used for all surgical tools, while the nunchuk allows you to change tools on the fly. The nunchuk makes selecting tools much faster than in the DS version, but it's very sensitive, and the zone for each tool is so small that you may not get the right tool until the second or third try. This issue more or less evens out the two styles of selecting tools. The pointer itself works great for almost everything. It's desensitized enough that you should have no trouble holding the scalpel steady, but the cursor still moves quickly enough to stitch wounds in a flash. Some players may still wish for an option to adjust sensitivity within the game, but these settings will be fine for most aspiring surgeons. The one serious problem with the pointer is the difficulty of drawing a star for the Healing Touch ability. There is a major difference between drawing a shape with the DS stylus and drawing in the air with the Wii remote. Furthermore, the game is rather picky about the number of lines used in your star and whether the lines are closed from beginning to end. The result for my playing is that I learned to use Healing Touch less often, because it usually took me two or three tries to activate it, and that might be too late in the more difficult operations.

As with the original DS game, what's great about Trauma Center is that as you progress through the story and other characters begin to recognize Derek's growing skills, you can also feel your own skill at playing the game improve dramatically. The game is very challenging, as it requires you to operate both accurately and quickly, and those attributes tend to oppose each other. There is a great feeling of accomplishment when you succeed, and the situations grow so dire that by the end of the game, it really does feel like you are performing medical miracles. The game is well balanced so that even when you fail, you want to try again because you know you can do better. As I said before, if you get truly stuck on a mission, you can go down to the easy setting to get past it, and then you can jump back up to normal if you think the last operation was a fluke. The hard level is even tougher than the original game, so hardcore Trauma Center fans should get a kick out of playing through on that setting. There are also special bonus missions at the end that are extremely difficult – I failed in less than a minute on the first one, even using the Healing Touch.

Although the original Trauma Center is a fantastic game, I wouldn't say it's for everyone, due to the extreme difficulty. Second Opinion fixes that issue while providing options to make the game even harder for veteran players. It also provides a dozen or so new missions (or about 1/3 more content) and interesting, though not perfect, Wii controls that are fun for everyone to learn. If you're tired of launch titles that feel like tech demos or mini-game collections, Trauma Center is just what the doctor ordered. (Sorry!)

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 8 8 9 7 8.5
Graphics
7

The anatomical visuals find a good balance between looking real-ish but not too gory. However, these graphics could still be sharper and more colorful without being too gross. The story sequences are told through high quality character portraits, but a little animation would help a lot.

Sound
8

The soundtrack is limited, but it fits the game perfectly and constantly ratchets up the tension during surgeries. Voice samples are used minimally but sound great.

Control
8

I wish I could say the controls are perfect, but they're not. Selecting tools with the nunchuk is a bit touchy, and the Healing Touch is very hard to use. The defibrillator is also confusing to use, but it's only found in one or two missions. Still, most of the controls are fantastic, and thank goodness because this game demands precision.

Gameplay
9

Unique and brilliant, Trauma Center's operations continually find ways to challenge and improve your skills. The story does a great job of giving your hands a break while adding gravity and humanity to the proceedings. A new easy setting gives everyone a chance to see the whole game.

Lastability
7

Second Opinion is longer than Under the Knife, but most of it is the same, so experienced players will blast through the normal missions in a few hours. If you want to beat everything on hard, that could take years – seriously, the game can be sadistic in its difficulty. New players will find plenty of content to enjoy.

Final
8.5

The original Trauma Center was a must-own DS game, but Second Opinion is considerably better and is now a must-own Wii game. There's really nothing else like this series, so if you're looking for something different, look no further.

Summary

Pros
  • Good use of the pointer function
  • Graphics and sound are still low-tech but charming
  • Plenty of new operations and new story elements
  • Selectable difficulty lets everyone play through
Cons
  • Healing Touch drawing controls
  • Tool selection too touchy
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

bananaboyNovember 26, 2006

Actually you can skip the briefings by pressing the - (minus) button face-icon-small-smile.gif

Great game though even for Trauma Center Vets face-icon-small-happy.gif

Thanks for the tip. I have edited the review accordingly. I didn't know about it because the game never mentions it, and my review copy did not come with a manual.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 26, 2006

I heard that even with the difficulty level being selectable the game is still very hard and the difficulty is all over the place.

In fact, I stopped playing the DS version because I got tired of failing the same operation for the 100th time.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusNovember 26, 2006

I had to almost broke my hand to finish the DS version. I have never played a game that was that addictive to the point I was hurting myself to finish it.

On easy level, I think anyone could beat the game. It still has some challenge, but you're not going to need twenty tries to beat an operation. Normal seems to be the same as the DS version (though some operations have changed, and there are new ones of course), while hard is in a different league of impossibility.

bananaboyNovember 27, 2006

Yeah I've been playing through on normal and lately missions have been taking me about 5 or 6 tries ... well see about hard later lol

Myxtika1 AznNovember 28, 2006

Holy shiz! I just witnessed my brother beat the final mission on Extreme difficulty. With BOTH doctors! Now, hard mode is just a breeze for him. I'll jump into this game as soon as I'm finished with Twilight Princess!

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 29, 2006

HOT NURSE "TOUCH ACTION" FTW

WanderingJanuary 21, 2007

Quote

The one serious problem with the pointer is the difficulty of drawing a star for the Healing Touch ability. There is a major difference between drawing a shape with the DS stylus and drawing in the air with the Wii remote. Furthermore, the game is rather picky about the number of lines used in your star and whether the lines are closed from beginning to end. The result for my playing is that I learned to use Healing Touch less often, because it usually took me two or three tries to activate it, and that might be too late in the more difficult operations.

I was having a lot of problems with star-drawing until, after failing the final operation several times, I practiced until I could do it reliably in one try.

My problem, I found, was that I was trying to connect the final point of the star with the first point, which resulted in stars that looked like this:

strrivingforwhatshisname1.jpgstriving2andonehalf.jpg

which the game wouldn't accept. What I found, though, is that the game is perfectly fine with you crossing the final line with the first line, like so:

strivingforwhatshisname2.jpg

SheckyJanuary 21, 2007

I created my DS stylus because of the DS version of this game

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Kadukeusu Z: 2 Super Surgical Operations Box Art

Genre Simulation
Developer Atlus
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Release Nov 19, 2006
PublisherAtlus
RatingTeen
jpn: Kadukeusu Z: 2 Super Surgical Operations
Release Dec 02, 2006
PublisherAtlus
Rating12+
eu: Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Release Aug 10, 2007
PublisherAtlus
Rating12+
aus: Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Release Aug 28, 2008
PublisherNintendo
RatingMature
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