|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Atlus||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 1, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Control is as sharp as ever, and I personally find the accuracy of using the stylus greater than that of the Wii Remote. Selecting tools is as simple as tapping on their large, easy-to-find icon. From there, you'll tap, slash, scratch, and drag to utilize all your instruments. Switching items on the fly is easy and intuitive, which is a good thing because the action gets really frantic really quickly. Control is sharp and some minor problems found in the first Under the Knife (for example, magnifying didn't always work) have been patched up nicely.
Aside from the fundamental gameplay mechanic, many aspects of Trauma Center have received noticeable improvements. Under the Knife 2 offers multiple difficulty levels, which makes the game more accessible to new players and serious gamers alike. Easy can be beaten without trouble, while Hard is going to challenge even the most hardcore gamer. In essence, Trauma Center is a puzzle title, but it's one that's surprisingly imaginative and challenging. With so many games for the DS that are painfully simple and easy, it's nice to play a title that recognizes the value of offering challenge to gamers.
The game has also received a noticeable visual update. Under the Knife 2 moves away from the anime graphics of the original to a more realistic set of visuals. While this makes Derek look pretty androgynous, for the most part this new direction is a good thing for the game. The game still goes with 2D character models during story sequences. It would be nice to see the development team get a bit more creative here, but overall this is a minor complaint. The fact is, the game looks good and has a strong artistic style.
Under the Knife 2 has a lot going for it, but there are a few things that could have been done better. For starters is the fact that we've already seen fun online integration with Trauma Center on the Wii. But for whatever reason, this wasn't included in Under the Knife 2. Leaderboards are gone, and many of the added touches that made the Wii iterations of the franchise so great are nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, Under the Knife 2 is more than fun enough to stand on its own addictive gameplay.
The last "problem" with Under the Knife 2 is it really doesn't do much new with the series. Sure, there are plenty of new operations, but as I've stressed throughout this review, the core gameplay remains essentially unchanged. Many people aren't going to see this as a problem; after all, it's been several years since we first got a Trauma Center title on the DS, and the game is so addictive and exciting that it doesn't really need to be new to be fun. Overall, despite some really nit-picky problems, Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 is a fun, frantic game that's worth trying. Regardless of what type of gamer you are, you owe it to yourself to try out the madness that is Trauma Center. Once you start playing, you'll be a hooked.
CCC Freelance Writer