Trauma Center: Second Opinion Wii
If there is one thing we all collectively like to complain about when it comes to Wii games it is that most of the good ones always seems to come out here dead last. We are still complaining about Super Paper Mario, although that wait is just about over. But of course, sometime near the end of the year we will be getting uppity about Super Mario Galaxy, and then, when the Americans are playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl over Christmas dinner we will be pissing and moaning all around the merry ole Christmas tree. I bet you already know where this is going. Yes, Trauma Centre: Second Opinion is yet another one of those games that sees a launch in Euroland months after the rest of the world, in fact the rest of the world got their hands on the game when the Wii launched, back when the world was still wondering ‘would waggle work?’. Well, at least we now finally have it, almost ten months later.
As you probably know, and as most people with a DS will tell you, Second Opinion is more a remake of the DS release, Under The Knife, rather than a direct sequel. Thankfully, due to the change in control method, and the alterations to the core gameplay that it brings, this label of being an update should not be seen as a detriment to the game as quite a lot as changed. In the game you play as the brash Dr Stiles, who has just finished his residency and is now taking his first steps working in an operating theatre. From there the story, which is told through line after line of text, kicks off, and as you work your way though each operation there will be long lines of dialogue to explain what’s happening. Of course, if being inundated with text, regardless of how well it is written, is not your thing you can always skip though it all (by pressing “+”) to get to the real meat and bones of the game, the operations.
Yes the operations, the reason why you want to, or are at least thinking about buying the game. Well thankfully, just like the handheld release, the operations in the Wii release of Trauma Centre are top quality. Not only matching what was on show in the DS edition, but easily surpassing it. All the main tools are back once again but instead of picking each tool from the side of the screen, like it was on the DS, you now use the eight different angular positions of the Nunchuk to pick each tool from a radial menu. This is a great change, and a very welcome one, as using the DS style of selection, while venturing though long operations, all the while playing on a big TV would have overly complicated things. Of course, the lasers, scalpel, drainage hose, sutures and forceps are still available as well, so things remain quite familiar for series stalwarts. A nice little change is that using forceps to pick things up has now been mapped to squeezing A and B, thus making using it feel very realistic and also very satisfying. However, I will admit I found the scalpel a little bit harder to use the than I did on the DS, and as a result messed up making initial incisions more times than I would have liked.
Irrespective of the control adjustments, the game only offers two big tool changes for operations in the move to Wii. The first big change is the introduction of de-fibrillation to jump start patient’s hearts should they conk out. To use the defibrillators you push both the Nunchuk and the Wiimote towards the screen, to mimic pushing down on the patience chest, and then you have to time a button press, with the aid of a meter, to jolt them back to life. The next big change is the introduction of fixing bone fractures, where you use the Wiimote to find a piece of bone, then grab it, before moving it around and twisting it about to find the right position and angle to piece the broken bone back together. Thankfully, both new additions are of top quality and work well.
The game’s visuals, while hardly breathtaking (even for the Wii), manage to remain impressive throughout. Most importantly, when performing the operation they manage look very clean at all times, letting all the important stuff stand out and not confusing the player with layer upon layer of unneeded detail. The in-game HUD is also unobtrusive, with all the info tucked away at the edges of the screen, far away from any precision medical work you may be doing. Outside of the operating, the game uses animé-style representations of characters that appear on screen when each character has something to say. Each of these character have a few different emotions – such as happy, sad, angry and concerned – that are used to display how they may be feeling. Also, with no voice work on show, your speakers are just left to output the game’s music, which seems to suit the game very well. There are a few different tunes that are played over the story mode cut scenes, which are okay, but in all honesty it is the epic music that plays over the operations that is the real winner here.
For those thinking about picking up the game after coming off the similar DS version then there will be a few notable changes, other than those seen in basic gameplay. The biggest change, at least for me, was that the game seemed to be much more accessible than before. On one hand you could criticise the game for being a bit easier, as you can finish most of the operations this time without pulling you hair out, but thankfully there is still a challenge included as it is very, very hard to achieve anything above a C ranking on the high difficulties. As a result of this I believe Second Opinion is a top quality game to play, regardless if you are part of the casual or hardcore audience.
If you are concerned about the length of the title then fear not as there is a good amount of game here for your money, and even though it may be just solely a single player experience it is however a very well thought out one. In fact, if you actually take the time to read all the text, as the story hops and skips between location, resulting in increasingly uncanny predicaments, it not only lengthens you time with the game but also enhances the overall experience. In truth, should you take your time advancing though the game it is possible to develop a bond with the characters, and get a deeper understanding what the main protagonist – Derek – is all about, which is a welcome addition should you want to get deeper into the game’s mythology.
Perhaps the game’s greatest achievement is that it is one of the few Wii games out there (minigame compilations aside) that has implemented a quality controller scheme that seems like it was truly built for the game, Even better, it is a system that actually 100% works, without any hiccups or glitches. As a result gamers are left with one of the deepest and well thought out Wii games available yet. It is just a damn shame we had to wait so long.
A great addition to one of the most unpredictably successful franchises on Nintendo platforms.