The series that is leading the way in bringing video games into the hospital is back with its latest installment, Trauma Team. The game features a team of six different medical professionals who each have their own style of gameplay. It is broken down with experts in surgery, first response, orthopedics, endoscopy, diagnosis, and forensics. You can play as each of them one by one in whichever order you would like. Trauma Team has its recognizable gameplay intact, but with the game’s focus on a team of six, it also experiments with some new mechanics. Some hit, and some miss.
The main attraction of Trauma Team is the story. Each character has their own story and each story is pretty engaging to follow. It is told through the use of comic-book style panels, along with pretty decent voice actors. You can tell a lot was put into this portion of the game, because it looks and sounds great. With no need to really be reading, except for gameplay instructions, it is almost like watching a show. The game even pats itself on the back with this one as it starts off by offering ‘Intern’ difficulty for those who are more interested in hearing the story (yes, the game itself suggests this), and ‘Resident’ difficulty for those looking for more of a challenge in gameplay. The only thing that was a little awkward was looking at some of the motionless comic panels during certain dialogue segments. I don’t think you should be smiling when you are talking about a death in your family.
Surgery is the mode fans of the series will recognize instantly. Minor tweaks have been made since the previous games, but the gameplay remains hugely similar. You operate, cut, repair, and heal injuries with about 8 different tools. All your actions will be measured by precision, timing, and accuracy to get a good ranking. The gameplay is bit more forgiving this time around with no limit on how swiftly you should perform what is necessary.
First response, orthopedics and endoscopy don’t stray too far from the gameplay featured in surgery. They all relatively play the same, but with a different scenery. First response deals with less tools, but as we all know, sometimes more is less. It is much less cumbersome than dealing with a handful of different tools, and in turn, offers quicker gratification.
Orthopedics takes the action away from the flesh and focuses on the bones of a patient. You don’t deal with much tool management, and it is all about accuracy and care. You don’t want to be shattering any bones with the misuse screws and hammers (ouch!).
Lastly, endoscopy adds its own twist to the game with some first-person elements. You have a radar that points out the problems as you move into a patient deeper and deeper in 3D space. This game type offered the most freedom in my opinion, with minor complaints, one being thrusting your Wiimote to move forward being a little tiresome.
Both diagnosis and forensics walk away from the operating table and move the gameplay to other areas of the Trauma Team world. Unfortunately, both feel more of a chore than actual gameplay. They are more of a point-and-click adventure than modes based on skill and accuracy. Guessing and checking to piece together information is all you will pretty much see here. It can also get pretty mundane and repetitious.
There is a multiplayer option to have some coop action going before you begin an operation. You and a partner can split the job of the profession you are playing in. For example, in surgery you would handle the scalpel while your partner would handle the syringe. I suppose this coop feature is as good as the communication you have with your partner. It’s a nice bonus to be able to have a friend join in, instead of having them sit around watching you play.
Overall, Trauma Team is an ambitious game that has slight issues of not being as fun as it should be. With six different modes, it was almost as if you had six different games for the price of one. However, you get this feeling that some more time could have been put into some of the lackluster modes and you will enjoy some parts more than others. Trauma Team has taken a great step in the right direction with the series, but now it has to take its new ambitious choices and making it as fun as the surgery portions.
- Game: Trauma Team
- Platform Reviewed: Wii
- Developer: Atlus
- Publisher: Atlus
- Release Date: 5/18/2010
- MSRP: $39.99
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this title was provided to DualShockers Inc. by the publisher for purposes of this review.