|System: Wii||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: May 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
December 9, 2009 - When you think of team activities, you probably think of football or working on a big project. But thanks to the upcoming Trauma Center title, Trauma Team, you'll soon be thinking of medical procedures, checking vitals, and hospital drama. We recently got a chance to check out a brief presentation of the gameplay in Trauma Team, and we can confidently say that this new entry is unlike anything you've ever seen before from the Trauma Center series.
Fist off, instead of just one or two main characters, Trauma Team will have a total of six characters, each with their own story mode. Each character is an expert in a different field: surgery, orthopedic medicine, forensic medicine, endoscopy, first response aid (EMT), and general diagnosis. Each of these specialists will perform procedures related to their field, and each type of procedure presents a radically different type of gameplay.
During the presentation, we were able to see one of the new procedure types in action: endoscopy. For those who don't know, endoscopy is the fine art of probing internal organs through the insertion of a special instrument through an external orifice. It is certainly a delicate science, and precision was definitely the name of the game as we were walked through the finer points of this mode.
As you use the endoscopic camera, you'll have to use the Wii-mote's IR pointing functionality to shine a light around the body cavity, and the Nunchuk to navigate around internal organs. You'll have to fix things like blood clots and tumors, and you'll also have to administer medicine to infected areas. Since the endoscopic procedures require a lot of precise movement, the time restrictions will be relaxed for this mode so that players can really focus on getting their movements right, instead of just racing towards their goal.
Other procedure types will also see some of the traditionally difficult aspects of Trauma Center scaled back. For instance, the orthopedic medicine procedures will not have any time limit. Instead, the game will give you a specific number of mistakes you can make before you will fail the procedure. You will also be able to use an unlimited amount of stabilizing shots when your patients' vitals are in trouble.
In addition to the gameplay-centric aspects, the visual display will also be getting a bit of an update in the form of a HUD-style radar, which will allow you to navigate to the trouble area more easily. The HUD will also alert you when it is time to use a certain instrument. This gets rid of one of the most frustrating aspects of the original series, as deciding which instrument to use took considerable time, and the selection of the wrong instrument could result in a failed procedure.
One of the goals for Trauma Team that will really set it apart from its predecessors is accessibility. While this series has basically built its franchise's reputation on its insane difficulty level, Trauma Team is looking to expand the series' appeal beyond the hardcore sect. However, if you feel a little uneasy about this transition, don't worry. If you crave a more challenging medical procedure, the game will have scalable difficulty levels, including a hard difficulty setting that can be unlocked after completing the game on normal or easy.
In addition to being able to play as a lone doctor, some of the modes in the game will support co-op. Though the PR we talked to wasn't able to confirm exactly which modes were going to feature multiplayer, we were told that it would be implemented in a way that would "make sense".
Although Trauma Team is a relatively new franchise, its four previous entries have certainly gathered a devoted fan following. Its mix of surgery-based gameplay and hospital room drama has proven to be a potent mix. Although it seems like a lot is changing in Trauma Team, the majority of these changes will be for the better. The new specialties and more intuitive gameplay choices should make this a favorite both for fans and for series newcomers. Look for Trauma Team to admit you to the OR in spring 2010.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor