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Wii REVIEWS: Trauma Team

For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 50 games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum “Goallegacy” which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

37- Trauma Team:
Year: 2010.
Genre: Medical Simulation, Visual Novel.
Publisher: Atlus.
Developer: Atlus. 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Predicting that another game focused on surgery wouldn’t be very different from the last, and wanting to emulate medical drams such as ER and Grey’s Anatomy, Atlus must have decided they needed to put in more doctors and professions into the Trauma series.

As such we have Trauma Team, which gives you control over six doctors, each in their own profession. The result is the crowning achievement of the Trauma series, even if it does lose some of the best parts of the previous games.

“Medicine has its limits, and passion cannot save lives”

In the previous Trauma games, the story revolved around the central surgeons only, and their experiences. Culminating in some medical terrorism story lines, using some outlandish disease in its center.

This time around, the story is a little bit more grounded, focusing on the interconnecting lives of six doctors, each with their own demons to face. At first, with a few exceptions, the stories mostly involve the characters themselves more so than their patients. Which makes the build up to the central epidemic more organic.

Before the story goes into high gear, the game makes an excellent attempt at foreshadowing the catastrophic disease that is coming. Mostly through the forensics gameplay section, figuring out the tragic stories of the dead was the highlight of the whole experience.

And sometimes its the tragic stories of the living

Mostly, this is due to the excellent characters themselves. While not all of them work (Tomoe if a shallow caricature of a Japanese honor-bound character), they are mostly a cool bunch. Of course, this extends to the supporting cast, from the hardened cop with sunglasses for eyes, to the one-time characters who reside in the backstories of dead people.

The story unfolds according to your own choice of episodes. You can choose to mix and match between characters, go through one character completely, or just do as I did and take it from left to right going down as you go. Actually, I would suggest that approach, as I think it is the best order for the story to unfold.

In the past Trauma games, Atlus showed an ability to create some really cool characters, and a really good story. This time around, they stretched that ability to its limit without showing too much cracks.

Interesting Story: 5
Cool Characters: 5

“I see corpses all day, one more wouldn’t bother me”

The central change in Trauma Team from the series is the introduction of five more different gameplay styles other than surgery. Besides surgery, there is forensics, diagnosis, endoscopy, orthopedics, and emergency.

Six different doctors with six different game modes

Surgery is the exact same as the last two games. With a number of tools, you are tasked with operating on a patient, mostly through pointing the wiimote and very limited motion controls. Emergency is nearly the same, but with a more limited tool-set, and the responsibility to juggle multiple patients as well.

For forensics and diagnosis, the game becomes more of a visual novel. Similar to games like Ace Attorney, its more about detection than arcade surgical skills. In forensics, I wouldn’t mind an entire game focusing on that, because it is just another point of view in the detective genre. As for diagnosis, you are tasked with finding the symptoms and detecting the disease based on those symptoms.

Orthopedics is probably the simplest of all game modes, and the most resembling the classic surgery board games. In them, it is a simple matter of pointing and using the tool in the per-prescribed way.

Finally, there is endoscopy, which I found to be the worst part in the game. Ironically, its only the worst part because of a central flaw in the system; having to “push” the Wiimote to move inside the patient. Its inaccurate, and makes the whole thing more troublesome than it should.

Overall, the difference in game modes keeps you engaged throughout, and the strengths of one mode compensates for the weakness in another.  

Of course, you can always surgically remove an I-Beam from someone if you feel like it

Variety in Gameplay: 6
Endoscopy isn’t that good: -1
Forensics and Diagnosis are good: 2

“All one needs is the resolve to stay calm”

With six different game styles, it obviously means that trauma Team doesn’t go deep into any of them. Arguably, the forensics and diagnosis sections are fully realized and the number of chapters dedicated to them is perfect. I can say the same for orthopedics which is too simple to have too many cases dedicated to it.

The obvious loss is surgery, as the game doesn’t nearly go to the depth the series is known for. Hence, super fans of surgery in the previous games might be a little disappointed.

However, what will disappoint them most is the clear downgrade in challenge in the game. Whereas in the last game I struggled to get Bs, here I managed to get S scores that I do not think I fully deserved. This considerably lowered the barrier of entry, and I would say needlessly so.

I mean treating all these patients should be more tense than it is here

In the last game, there was an easy mode for those who didn’t enjoy the extra challenge. There is absolutely no reason to change normal mode into easy, and then lock away hard until after completion.

In my opinion, the tense challenge of the series lent a sense of urgency to the procedures. It served as a substitute to the actual stress in the operation room. Stress that wasn’t close to being there in the game until the end.

Lack of Challenge: -3
Hard Locked Behind Completion: -2

“If conferences saved life, I would be the first one in line”

To support its episodic structure, and the medical dram theme, the game incorporates a stylish comic book structure to its scenes. The screen is divided with sharp lines, a big part of it showing the current scene (which is moving) while you see the greyed out stills of other scenes in the edges of the screen. At first, I didn’t much like this style, but I got used to it, and I think the game wouldn’t have worked without it.

True to the series’s roots, the game’s characters have excellent designs. This excellence is not only in their 2d portraits, but also in the various expressions they have and the stylish placeholder drawings as the scenes transition from one comic panel to another.

Generally, the game has much more animation than in the series past, with characters moving around the panels and even some animated scenes in key narrative points.

The series also continues with its excellent character design

Continuing with the excellent voice acting of New Blood, Trauma Team has a mostly good VA cast with the exception of one of the worst VAs for a child I have ever heard. In Japanese anime, if you are not getting a child actor to do the voice, then you will hire a girl to do it. Until I heard this “child” talk, I didn’t appreciate that fact.

In the sound level, it seems there are mixed opinions on soundtrack. Some think its too jazzy for a medical dram, and that’s true to some extent. However, the soundtrack dramatically shifts once the story goes into top gear, and I think the operation tunes are the best in the series by far.

Character Design: 3
More Animation: 1
Good VA: 2
Good Music: 2

In Conclusion:

Atlus didn’t want the series to stagnate and repeat itself. In my opinion, New Blood improved in every way over the first game, and I didn’t see much room for improvement without also becoming too familiar. To avoid that, they made Traum Team as a completely different game, featuring some completely different play styles.

However, it was not only in gameplay did they make changes, but also in the style of the story and the fact that they had more characters to focus on.

I think the gamble paid off, as Trauma Team is a great game that is among the Wii’s best. After all, it couldn’t have worked out in any other system.

Final: 45/50

 

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“Looking Back at Destructoid’s Review:”

Trauma Team was reviewed by huge Atlus fan, Dale North back in 04.26.2010. This was actually the first review of a Trauma game on the Wii, and Dale found it to be a very good game, giving it an 8.5 score. He sums it up in the begenning: “You may have picked up a virtual scalpel in the past in a Trauma Center game, and you may think you know what to expect in this sequel. You should know that there’s so much more going on in Trauma Team. The cutting of lovely patterned organs and jewel-shiny tumors is sometimes just a backdrop to the lives of Trauma Team’s six main characters. Aside from the varied modes of medical game play, the variety of characters is what makes Trauma Team great.

As usual in the comments section of Wii games at that time, a commentor is fed up with anti-Wii campaign going on. Gee-Man had this to say:

Nice, glad to see the Wii get another exclusive, and one that’s unique enough that I don’t have to listen to the age-old “This would be better on the PS3/360” mantra. Definitely a buy for me…

Ironically, just under that comment, there was this one from Andrew Campbell:

I love this series, as it was one of the first games that sold the DS to me, but I think Altus have done it a disservice, by straying too far from its DS roots. It was always more suited to DS, and could gain more buyers if also ported to iPhone/touch/pad.

I’m sure this Wii version will be cool (and could port well to PS3 and 360), but Atlus should show the DS more love with this game series. There should have easily been a third DS title by now, with co-op 2 player.

Finally, EdgyDude says what many of use were thinking:

“Woah, anime style characters, great gameplay, good plot and boobs? SOLD!”

Just to add some context to that last point, you diagnose one seriously attractive girl halfway through the game. Be careful not get caught in breach of practice.

“Sales Data:”

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don’t measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people’s general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

For both Trauma Center games on the Wii, I suggested that even under 500K units sold, Atlus probably made a profit, as evidenced by the sequels they released after it. However, I think the sales of Trauma Team must have been really dissapointing for them. Only managing to sell about 180K Units. Trauma Team is the worst selling Trauma game on the Wii. It continues a downward trend of sales despite the shake up it did to the series.

With this downward trend in mind, we shouldn’t expect Atlus to release another Trauma game, which is unfortunante. Despite being excellent games in a unique genre, the Trauma games never managed to grow into somethin mainstream. Worse yet, they never manged to hold on into a constant fanbase, which might have something to do with the doom and gloom that have consistently been part of the Wii’s lifecycle.

“Tips”

1- Make smart use of mydical syringes.
2- In Endoscopy, make sure not to hit the patient’s inside walls.
3- Save often in Diagnosis and Forensics, I have never failed, but it would be a major pain if failure means you restart from the start.
4- In Emergency, do not focus on your patient too much, sometimes you need to switch to another an give them some medical syringes.
5- In Orthopedics, make sure to understand the timing of the drilling, screwing, and hammering tools.

“Next Game”

As a final game in the series, Trauma Team is an excellent swan song, as well as a reason to make us wish for another Trauma game. Its a genre without many games, and I hope Atlus does something with the IP in the future.

Next game in the list is #32, and it features the fatter, greedier version of Mario. Wario Land: Shake It! probably has a lot of shaking involved, as well as a lot of money and gold. I actually rarely played Wario Land games, with the first memory of playing one was in a K-Mart store in the US nearly 15 years ago.

Stay Tuned

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