The Trauma series has done a pretty good job of taking advantage of new kinds of controls; the original DS games put the touch screen and stylus to good use, and the Wii releases have shown the developers understand the Wiimote is more than just a ’magic fun stick’ you wave around wildly. Atlus seems pretty confident their localization of the latest game in the series will be even better, and they were eager to show off what they have so far.
Like the previous games, Trauma Team is essentially an in-depth puzzle game that presents itself as a medical drama. You get to play as six different doctors, each with their own field they specialize in and that in turn means a variety of operations to do; far more than the various Trauma Center games offered. While control is still done via the Wiimote and Nunchuk, Trauma Team offers a twist in that many operations are done from a first person perspective, which was demonstrated as an Atlus representative guided a micro-camera through the body of one patient, using this to help locate internal bleeding and other troubles, which he solved fairly gracefully. ...Well, aside from that time he drove a drill into a patient’s forearm during another operation, anyway.
The controls look excellent so far, and very precise as even slight movements were enough to get the job done in most operations while being too rough or heavy in your motions would often hurt the patient. Interestingly, Atlus said that the Motionplus attachment wouldn’t be supported as they’re able to get the level of control they need just using the Wiimote’s IR pointer. It looked to be the case so far, and hopefully that will remain true in the full game; admittedly not every operation was available to be seen at this time.
Since this is a medical drama, working on various patients is only half the game. True to the series, Trauma Team will feature a plot that unfolds as you play. It will be spread across six ’campaigns’, one for each character, though some crossing over may occur. Each campaign stars a different character with their own set of operations and tools, and many of these characters are new to the series. In fact, the only returning face seen so far was Naomi Kirishima (also known as Naomi Weaver in Trauma Center: Second Opinion, but Atlus opted to keep her original Japanese name this time). While the story isn’t fully animated and little of the plot was on display in this build, Atlus insisted that the plot of Trauma Team will be presented in a better fashion than previous games in the series, with less of the ’sliding character portraits’ than before.
When asked about other modes, Atlus had a lot to say. They ruled out online play, and it’s unlikely that online leaderboards will return. Instead, they wish to focus on the single-player and local co-op experience and given the nature of the series that may be for the best.
Atlus is currently aiming for a Spring 2010 release, and they look to be well on track for that. A full review will be available on GDN after the game’s release, so stay tuned.