For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:
I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.
Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
S4- Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Genre: Medical Simulation, Visual Novel.
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
The launches of the DS and the Wii brought with them a number of different genre's to the market, genre's that thrived on the possibilities offered by styles and wiimote control scheme. On of those genres is the medical sims, and perhaps the best of those sims is the Trauma Center series.
Second Opinion actually symbolizes that DS/Wii influenced jump by being a game featured in both system. First published as Under the Knife on the DS, Second Opinion is a remake of the game on the Wii.
As the first title in the series, this game does a good job of setting itself apart from everything else in the market, and in being a darn fun game to boot.
"A doctor's hands are heavy with responsibility"
Finally, a game where saving people's lives does not include taking others lives. Simply, you control Dr. Derek Stiles, a surgeon, in treating patients and potentially saving them from certain death. Additional to the Wii version, you also control another Doctor, Naomi Weaver, and the storyline is expanded.
Initially, Dr. Stiles is simply an up and coming surgeon who is not taking his job super seriously. Only after his new assistant admonishes him for his carelessness does he begin acting like a "true" doctor. Then, it is discovered that he has access to the magic-like "healing touch" ability which marks him as treasure for medicine.
Unfortunately, the beginning is a ham-sounding as it, well, sounds. It feels forced, and issues of real ethical concerns such as euthanasia and doctor's responsibilities are handled with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In fact, I felt the entire first two chapters to be underwhelming affairs.
However, the story picks up tremendously once a new disease, the laughably named GUILT (Gangiliated Utropin Immuno Latency Toxin), is introduced. At first, it seems like a natural super-disease. However, it turns out to be the product of new global terrorists pioneering medical terrorism. Once GUILT bursts into the scene (quite literally), the story picks up, and characters all around start becoming more interesting as a result.
With all story progression happening in Visual Novel-like segments, it offers up a context for the large number of medical procedures (gameplay segments) you are asked to do. Rarely does the story sag, as it develops as quickly as the disease spreads, and your medical skills are put frequently to the test.
While the plot begins mundanely, it manages to puck up steam and be quite interesting by the end. There isn't any groundbreaking stuff here, but the refreshing take of tackling the terrorist's through treating their victims makes the unique perspective worthy in itself.
Humdrum Start: -2
Interesting Story: +3
Some Cool Characters: +2
You are responsible for the life of many, one patient at a time
"Those patients are depending on you"
Real life surgery requires a lot of education, experience, stamina, accuracy, and a whole team of support. Surgeries depicted in the game that are actual real-life surgeries typically take from 2 to 4 hours to complete. It is a stressful job, with the knowledge that the patient's life is in your hands.
The Trauma Center series tries to emulate that by being bloody hard.
Typically, you are given five minutes for each surgery, and you are asked to be both fast and accurate. Also, you need to multi-manage both keeping the patient alive, and healing him as fast as you can. Failure doesn't cause any change to the story, it is only a game-over, but the stress of repeating the procedure, and the fact that a small mistake can undo all your work, does grow.
Often, I found myself repeating a procedure for the fifth time, each attempt bringing me closer to the goal but the patient's lifeline depletes as I make another mistake. I can't decide whether to stutter (surgical sewing) a wound that just opened, go after the source of those wounds, or attempt to buy a few more seconds by applying a medical syringe. Ironically, it is the indecision that then cost me the game, because probably anything I would have done was better than wasting seconds thinking about it. This difficulty builds really well throughout the game, and I rarely found it overwhelming. Always, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished a particularly difficult procedure.
This is because the game simply controls really well, such that I rarely feel cheated by a loss. All actions depend on the wiimote pointer for direction, which I found to be always accurate. The Nunchuck analog serves as a very fast and reliable way of switching tools. Sure, in the heat of the moment you could switch to the sensors instead of the scalpel, but here is where the tool placement shines. The most essential tools are given the core four directions, and harmless (they don't cause you to stab the patient) tools are either side of those.
Each tool has their specific use in treatment, and there are many different treatment procedures you are going to do. For those concerned about repetition, I can't say it bothered me much. Sure, there are repetitive tasks such as always starting an operation by making a surgical incision (cutting open their chest) and ending it by closing it. However, once inside, there is a surprising variety of procedures you are going to do. I found almost all different cases to be fun, with a few notable exceptions.
Whenever the game tries to be cute with motion controls, it falls flat on its face. For example, a few missions (I think two) ask you to use a defibrillator to revive a patient. To this day, I have no idea what is the specific motion I am supposed to do with both wiimote and nunchuck tp activate it. I simply flail my arms about until it works. Another also limited procedure asks you to rotate stuff by rotating your wrist. Here's a medical tip to the devs, the wrist only has 200 degrees it can rotate comfortably in; you cannot ask the player to rotate their hands to that 160 degree's blind zone and expect them not to get "misses". Thankfully, these instances are very rare.
Unique, Tense, Gameplay: +5
Very Good Control: +4
Some Rare Use of Awful Motion Stuff: -1
Success after flailing your arms about, only realy issue with control
"You need to see the consequences of your carelessness"
Every-time you get a gameover, you get a hilarious prompt (that you can skip) about how Dr. Stiles could no longer handle the responsiblity of being a doctor (After he just killed this patient) and then goes on to disappear, "never being heard from again". Due to the difficulty of the game, many would probably memorize that prompt.
Yet, because the game can be mastered, it offers two difficulty levels that up the ante considerably. With even one of them being dubbed as "harder than real surgery". I dabbled with hard in the earlier cases, and I enjoyed the increased rush. However, I can't see myself managing the latter ones at all. Some of which I completed through the brink of death.
In the other end, the game offers an easy mode for those who are mainly interested in the story. I don't suggest playing on easy, because tension is an integral part of the game. However, the fact that you can change difficulty levels at any time means that you won't get stuck. In fact, I changed to easy mode for the last two cases.
Satisfying Challenge: +3
Different Difficulty Levels: +3
If you can't handle it, lower the difficulty
"You fixed my broken wings, and now I m ready to repay the favor"
First major issue you are going to notice is that the game is limeted to a 4:3 aspect ratio with no option to change. This at once introduces two ugly black ribbons in most of today's TVs. Second major issue is that the game is limited graphicaly, not ugly, just limited.
Take the interior of the human body for example. Possibly to streamline the operations (the human body is mess internally), or even so as not to get an M rating, it is simply clean and non-realistic. It feels more like images taken through some medical device rather than Dr. Stiles directly looking in.
Outside of the human body, the character's are all well designed, with unique looks and different facial animations. It is the usual anime drawing used in visual novels, but with the extra details and careful charectrizations Atlus is known for. Nothing super spectacular, but soid nevertheless.
Musically, I cannot say I payed much attention. It facilitated the mood during surgeries, and it probably helped me through the repetetion. Yet, no track stood to me in particular. Only the music in the "boss" cases felt different, and those I enjoyed, only to think that I maybe should have also enjoyed the music selection in all of the other cases.
Locked Aspect Ratio : -2
Boring Body Graphics: -3
Character Design: +2
Limited Music: -2
Bone splinters don't travel that far without rupturing the skin
Second Opinion sets the stage for the series. It introduces a very solid gameplay system, and a potential for greater stories to be told. For those seeking something different, something potentially really challenging, this game is a perfect intro to a series I hope improves on this game.
"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"
Destructoid did not Review this game.
I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).
Atlus are known for making profit with sales biggere companies would cringe at. They are good at cutting corners, budgeting, and generally have a loyal niche audience. Second Opinion is the second highest selling Trauma Center game after the DS game that it is a remake off. It sold 340K units, while the DS game sold 350K units. If you combine the two, then this makes the first Trauma Center to be on of Atlus's highest selling games outside of the Shin Megami Tensai series. Which is great for a title with such humble production values.
1- Make smart use of mydical syringes.
2- Don't depend on activating the medical touch, it fails half of the time.
3- If you se a lot of cuts, the patient's health will deplate rapidly.
4- Learn to stuttur wounds super quickly.
5- Learn when you are able to heal the patient without complications ruining your day.
6- In some instance, you cannot afford to heal your patient, and you should focus in avoiding more damage.
7- Learn what each GUILT series is able to do, and counteract accordingly.
8- If a case is too difficult for you to move on, try it on Easy mode.
9- Listen to the diagnosis, it will help you cure any case.
Second Opinion is a solid start to the Traum Center series. Now, I am excited about playing the other two games. Unfortunantly, I won't play the direct sequel to SO, because they did not remake that for the Wii
The next game is not a direct sequel, but is a Trauma Center game in the same univese. It is actually the first game in the series to built from the ground up to be on the Wii. Hopefully Traum Center: New Blood is an imporvment because of that.
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