A man collapsed on the street clutching his chest. I ran over and stroked his head, reassuring him everything would be okay. As I pulled out a knife he gasped. ‘Are you a doctor?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘The wii taught me how.’ And he cried. Oh, how he cried.
Trauma Center: Second Opinion is a remake of the DS Trauma Center: Under The Knife. The cult hit was all about prodding nasty disease inside people’s bodies and it made you feel like a true surgeon as you sliced stuff up and stitched wounds. The wii with its motion controls was a perfect fit for these surgical procedures, and so Under The Knife was given new life. Slicker, friendlier and with added defilabrators, Second Opinion become the desired opinion.
The transition from DS to wii is a successful one, with accurate motion controls and quick access to the multiple surgical tools with the nunchuk analogue stick. Each stage has a key objective, from kidney transplants to car crash victim glass removal, and it’s up to you to follow the instructions and make sure that patient makes it through alright. And maybe you’ll get an S rank for being a top-notch doctor. It’s how they do it at real hospitals, I’m sure.
It can be an incredibly tense affair as you carefully laser tumours or piece together broken bones, largely thanks to the tense ER drama show style music and character troubles before Dr. Stiles gets his hands inside. Sometimes the motion controls pull you out a bit, typically when you have to pull the wii remote away from the TV, but these moments are rare hiccups in the careful procedures.
The plot focusses on a man-made virus called GUILT which has numerous strands to provide numerous variety in how each operation plays out. It can involve simple triangle puzzles on the abdomen or a laser boss fight against a beetle like monster, and the bizarreness works with the crazy terrorist plot which even has you taking part in some bomb disposal fun. It strays far away from the reality of being a doctor, but it still creates that feeling of being one. A super one who can slow down time thanks to his magical healing touch. Really.
The main concerns come with how lazy the overall presentation can be for a big console game. Cutscenes are blocks of texts with character portraits, characters sometimes present but not visible due to no design for the character being available for the team to use. The story glosses over the most important climatic portion of the story too, a chapter torn from the games torso to keep the DS version relevant, though it instead comes across as a cheap move to try to get you stabbing away at both. For a remake it sure cuts corners with its pointy scalpel.
Lazy presentation doesn’t ruin the fun of slicing open people however, and so Trauma Center Second Opinion ends up being a fun game of operation with a few nasty scars. No amount of healing ointment will remove them.