Trauma Center: Second Opinion Hands-On

We save lives (and, unfortunately, take some) in Atlus' upcoming Wii title


Trauma Center: Second Opinion

One of the titles we made a beeline for at Nintendo's press event today was Atlus' Trauma Center: Second Opinion. The self-described "Wii-make" of everyone's favorite surgery sim on the Nintendo DS was in playable form at the event, and we naturally had to see what was up. Though the game is similar in structure and story to the DS title, there are also some cool, Wii-centric elements included.

Derek Stiles, ace surgeon, returns in Second Opinion, a self-described 'Wii-make' of the original DS game.
Derek Stiles, ace surgeon, returns in Second Opinion, a self-described 'Wii-make' of the original DS game.

As in the original game, you'll be cast in the role of Derek Stiles, a young doctor eager to make his mark in the world. Your journey will send you through a series of trials that will tell the story of your rise to success and challenge you with increasingly complicated medical procedures. The work-in-progress version on display at the event featured a prologue and six chapters that we tried a sampling of to see just how the game handles on the Wii.

What stands out is a new art style that maintains the flavor of the DS game but features different character designs and a tweaked presentation. The game takes the same basic structure as the DS game and intersperses the various surgery challenges with static story screens that fill you in on young Dr. Stiles' adventures. The actual surgery sessions have undergone a makeover and now have a sharp 3D look to them. The assorted surgery effects from the game have been redone and are noticeably flashier. On the content side, the game will feature an expanded story that includes a new rival doctor, bonus levels, and new surgeries, such as organ transplants and dealing with crises like broken bones. You'll also get new surgical tools, such as a defibrillator, to help you save lives.

The biggest difference in the game, as you might expect, is doing your surgical business with the Wii's remote. Anyone who played the DS version of the game will be right at home with the Wii game's control scheme. The remote will serve as your stylus and let you perform the fine actions you'll need to save lives. The game features a new radial menu system that lets you pick your tools by pressing a direction with the analog attachment. Most will be selected by pressing the A button, but some will require both the A and B buttons pressed in tandem, such as when you're tweezing debris, like glass, out of wounds. We tried a few different surgical procedures and, much like in the DS game, wound up losing a hefty share of patients (can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?). The game concept is still fun, and the enhanced visuals and new control mechanic only add to its charm.

Organ transplants are among the new surgeries in Second Opinion.
Organ transplants are among the new surgeries in Second Opinion.

Odds are if you dug the original Trauma Center, Second Opinion will hook you in much the same way. If you never tried the game, you should certainly consider checking it out on the Wii, as its goofy charm and challenging gameplay give it a lot of appeal. We're eager to try more and see what the new story elements bring; the game is looking like one of the titles we'll want to nab when the system launches. Look for more on Trauma Center: Second Opinion in the weeks to come. The game is currently slated to ship later this year.

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