The doctors will see you now.
The operation portion covers surgery (obviously), EMT work, orthopedics, and endoscopy. Surgery is set apart by its fast paced, and free form method. With a variety of tools, you must cut into the patient and cut/suture/remove and heal what ever injury you are given. EMT work is defined by its fast and frantic pace as you race to keep patients alive. Here, you will peform first response duties such as treating burns, or splint borken bones. However, the biggest aspect is managing several patients as they flood into your care and trying to save them all. Orthopedics by definition is work on bones, but the game takes a few liberaties and the player finds themselves excising tumors as well. For the most part, these operations are slow methodical and are almost like a series of minigames. Luckily, the greater objective of the operation keeps it from feeling like a set of minigames and puts it into perspective. Finally, there's endoscopy. Basically, the player manuevers an endoscope (a small tublike surgical devise with a camera) through the patient's gastric tract or lungs to heal them with the few previded instruments.
Those are the basic ideas about the operation portions, but how they actually play out is far more important. Surgery is a fun operation mode that really opens up as the game progresses to more challenging and unique missions. Also noteworthy, while the game does feature a Co-op mode, surgury is one of the two modes in the game where it is actually fun. So alone or together, surgury mode offers a decent showing and is very entertaining.
EMT mode is by far the best mode compared to the other operations. The frantic changing between patients and trying to keep five people alive at the same time is extremely enjoyable. The injuries you will have to deal with never get to strange in this section, but the variety keeps it challenging. Along with surgury, this is the other enjoyable way to play Co-op. Compared to the other methods of play, EMT mode also provides the greatest challenge in a comparatively easy game.
As previously mentioned, orthopedics comes across as a series of mini games and there isn't much more to add to that. Wether cutting through the spine or fixing a shattered leg, the game gives you some simple movements to follow and you do them with the most precision possible. While it may seem from this summary that it's quite boring, that's really not the case. It may not be incredibly fun, but it is certainly entertaining.
Finally, endoscopy... Let's be clear, this is abysmal. This is no fun at all. Luckily, this constitutes only a sixth of the game because any more would be a serious drag. Pushing the endoscope mindlessly through the intestines doesn't come anywhere close to fun. Perhaps its becuase the other modes are so enjoyable to play, but endoscopy comes across really boring and the missions will probably be the only ones that you don't want to do.
With the operations out of the way, the more text heavy, thinking portion of the game comes next. Diagnosis gives the player a patient with a mysterious illness. With the tools at hand, the player must find systems and diagnose the mysterious illness. For a better way of putting it, have you ever seen House? (I'm actually reletively sure that they modeled the diagnostic character Gabriel after House, if you play the game you'll find quite a few similarities) That's pretty much what this is. Forensics investigations has the player investigate murders. The dead body is combed over along with thier belongings and the player puts together clues by going to the crime scene to figure out who did it. Honestly, I'm not sure why this was featured in a hospital game since the majority of the mission revolves around investigating the crime scene and looking over evidence. Either way, both of these missions take the most time to complete in the entire game. Both will run about an hour each depending on the skill level of the player.
Diagnosis isn't so much trial and error as it is attention to detail. Players are forced to think critcally and obersvational skills are put to the test. Quite honestly, this can almost get a little ridiculous. Some of the things the player must catch are minute and can get frustrating. Still, these apsects make it that more rewarding when you solve a case.
While diagnosis was attention to detail, forensics is really just trial and error. Sure you could try to think through it all, but in the end, it really pays to just throw everything together and see what works. Grant it, there are portions of the game where critical thinking is necassary, but those are few and far between. The system used to solve the crime is a unique card based evidence system. It's quite novel from what I've seen in games and does add a bit of variety to the formula.
So those are the major gameplay areas of Trauma Center. Still, there is a bit more to cover. Story for this game is a bit uneven. The first part of the game is very light on story and everything revolves around fleshing out the six doctor's characters. Unfortunaly, some of these doctors aren't all that interesting so this part comes out a little flat. Saved from medicracy here is the two dialouge driven modes however. Both carry thier own meaningfull story for every mission, and the length gets you attached to the characters your dealling with. As the later half of the game is reached, the story really picks up and I found myself unable to stop playing just waiting to see what would happen next.
The art and sound are a mixed hat. Artistic direction here seems to be a little lacking. All cutscenes (there are many) are carried out through pictures with the words appearing on screen along with the voice actors playing it out. For what ever reason, the quality of the pictures goes down quite a bit every now and then for no real reason. When this isn't happening, it's about average. The sound is a point of contraversy as well. The music is just fine, but the voice acting is uneven. Diagnostician Gabrial is well done and his tone and devilivery really adds to his already humurous dialouge. Kimishima the forensics investigator is devlivered well too. Unfortunatly, the other four doctors are all delivered flat or over done.
The length of the game ends of being around twenty hours and this is many do to the dialouge based mission which take up a considerable ammount of time. Replay value is moderate. After beating the game, the player is awarded with a higher difficulty as well as medals to collect. The higher difficulty is very necassary and makes the missions a lot more of a challenge to play. The medals are sort of just there as something to do once the game is done with.
I do have a few negative comments for the game. First off is the difficulty. Until you beat the game the player is given the opertunity to play between easy and medium. Neither of these provide a suitible challenge for someone so much as decent at this game until the end though. Also, my unending hate for endoscopy must be included. Such a waste for one sixth of the game...
So fans of the previous games will probably come flocking to this one. But that leaves the question of who else would enjoy to play it. While not completely realistic at times, this is a fun title for anyone interested going into the medical professions to play. For the rest, if this game looks if-y and my review hasn't given you a good idea wether you'd like it one way or another, I'm not going to lie and say its an amazing game, go get it right now. At the same time, it is a strong title and is devinatly worth a rent at the very least.