Despite the difficulty level options, New Blood can be frustratingly difficult even under "easy" mode.

User Rating: 7.5 | Trauma Center: New Blood WII
The Good : Performing operations is surprisingly fun and rewarding. Surgical procedures aren't as graphic and discomforting as you may be led to believe. Support for two players. Three difficulty modes.

The Bad : Ridiculously difficult at times, even under the easiest setting. Awful dialogue and cue-card voice acting. Cut scenes are comprised entirely of static images. Wi-Fi only allows one score submission every few minutes. Rather than focusing on real diseases, much of the game focuses on the eradication of a fictional virus.

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I've held it off time and time again, but New Blood was my first exposure to the much acclaimed Trauma Center series, and I quite enjoyed the experience. While the gameplay as a whole is restricted entirely to surgical procedures, this isn't necessarily a bad thing for those who wish to wield that virtual knife and dig into a variety of different patients with different illnesses. Unfortunately though, much of the game focuses on a fictional virus, Stigma (and its various strains), and this aspect of the storyline may be disappointing for those who simply want to remove tumours, treat cancer or other real life diseases.

There are various tools at your disposal, all of which can be accessed via pointing at a specific direction via the nunchuck attachment. Use of the nunchuck however, is optional, and you may vouch for using the arrow keys on the Wii remote to access all the tools, however, given the time restrictions imposed upon the player, use of the nunchuck attachment would be wise as some of the levels require frequent switching of the in-game tools. You'll be required to inject various fluids into patients, remove and drag things using the forceps, drain blood, slice open and stitch back patients, massage hearts and so on. Use of the tools can be quite fun and simply once you memorize all 8 of the default tools.

The difficulty rises exponentially later into the game as you'll be required to perform certain actions in a very specific order (for example, the eradication of certain strains of Stigma should be priortized over the other, and so on), and will require a strict allocation of your valuable time (as the levels vary between 5 and 10 minutes in length). There is quite a lot of trial-and-error involved, and you'll find yourself failing quite a number of missions repeatedly (I've failed quite a few of the missions JUST as I was about to complete them). While this may become frustrating, don't fret, because all the missions are in fact possible within the time constraints. You'll just need practice in ensuring that you use the healing touch at the right moment, and that you eradicate certain hazards before they cause any critical damage.

Graphically, Trauma Center looks a touch unrealistic for the purposes of making the game more accessible for a non-medically inclined audience. It is clear that the hazards and organs have been designed in a stylistic fashion so that the player can easily recognize them at a glance. It's a nice looking game, but one that doesn't particularly push the Wii in any significant way.

The music is fast paced and matches the hectic nature of the operations where appropriate. The dialogue sounds good from a technical standpoint, however it has been so blandly written and acted that it's hardly worthy of praise. You'll find yourself cringing a number of times at some of the utterly lame dialogue.

The level selection screen appears as a "tree" of sorts, so you can scroll up or down to any of the previous missions or cut scenes at your leisure. Another bonus is that you're free to change the difficulty mode at any time (where applicable). It's just a shame that multiplayer was limited to local co-op as it would have been nice to implement some sort of competitive Wi-Fi option. Sure, you can upload your scores over to Wi-Fi, however it restricts score submissions to one every few minues, and I found myself so annoyed by this that I only bothered to submit around 2-3 scores. Furthermore, Wi-Fi only shows you your own rank (and your immediate rankees) as well as the top 10 or so. Unfortunately, the option to see the remainder of the ranks has been denied. Furthermore, the charts are highly impersonal (as it only displays your nickname and score), and I was extremely annoyed that I was listed as an "EU" gamer, even though I have an Australian copy of the game.

Trauma Center is a fun surgical simulator (i.e. when it's not punishing you with its occasionally torturous difficulty) which has its share of strengths and weaknesses. Some of the diseases are far too contrived to make TC a believable medical sim, but for those seeking a very unique take on the puzzle genre, you won't be disappointed.