Trauma Team Review (Wii)
Posted by Jim Cook, May 17, 2010 01:02
Non-Spoiler Notice: This game is fairly plot-intensive, and the story is one of its major features. This review will avoid specific spoilers, though some general story themes will be discussed so that people know what they’re in for and what audiences are appropriate for it.
The Trauma series has generally stuck with one plan over the years, giving you a series of puzzles and reflex tests wrapped around a medical theme. They often have only a loose connection to real world surgical practices, but that was okay since it was generally fun. On the other hand, this formula has started to show diminishing returns and the folks behind Trauma Team seemed to be aware of it. While much of its game mechanics remain true to previous Trauma games, they have added an extensive ’medical drama’ plot that is far more in-depth than previous games and also given us several new operation types.
Trauma Team centers itself around six doctors, who in turn have their own mode of play and their own plot though each of their stories connects to the others in various ways. The six modes of play are traditional surgery, first response, orthopedics, endoscopy, diagnostics, and forensics. You can play any operation in any order and still have the plot make sense, so it’s up to you when to handle each stage. The operations are sorted by doctor, with one of them getting the traditional surgery levels of previous Trauma games, another getting all the diagnostics work, etc.
These modes bear explanation. The regular surgery stages are exactly what series veterans would expect, consisting of various ’puzzles’ you must solve with your medical tools; use the Wiimote and Nunchuk to cut here, excise that tumor, drain the internal bleeding, and so on. First Response is similar to this, though since you’re operating in the field you have limited tools and are working on multiple patients at once; think of it as ’speed surgery.’ Orthopedics is usually similar to normal surgery, but demands extra precision and in return does not have a time limit but rather a mistakes limit and also has some interesting operations that make excellent use of the Wiimote’s ability to track its motion in multiple directions. Endoscopy involves sending a small camera into the patient and deploying tools from there, operating within and thus serving as ’first person surgery’, which is rather interesting. Most of these operations last about five to twenty minutes depending on how quickly you handle them, with around ten to twelve minutes being the norm for a first play through it.
Forensics and diagnostics are very different from the four surgery modes, as they are story-driven and last about an hour per stage. Diagnostics involves speaking with patients and learning more about their symptoms to determine what exact illness they suffer from, and while some of them are quite cooperative others will require some creative problem-solving to make them tell the truth. Forensics plays somewhat like a point-and-click adventure where you investigate crime scenes to determine how the victim was really killed, combining items found to progress the plot; you’ll frequently be quizzed as to the truth of what two lines of thought mean when brought together. Most of the diagnostics and forensics stages are well written, and aside from minor complaints on one or two of their puzzles I thoroughly enjoyed them.
The emphasis on a medical drama story means that each operation is accompanied by plot cutscenes. Most of these are very well voice acted, and presented in a comic book style with only limited animation to it. Despite being a medical drama, Trauma Team’s story manages to hit an incredibly wide emotional range. Its primary theme is idealism within the medical profession and the goal of saving lives, but the story manages to go from the heights of touching kindness and over-the-top comedy to rather dark tragedy. It’s an excellent story, but one that calls for at least basic maturity and young children probably shouldn’t play this.
Rating: 0.0, votes: 0