If you’ve played any of the past games from Atlus, you are familiar with the crazy doctors, weird anime storylines, and medical drama that have filled the Trauma series. The previous titles on the Wii have opened up a new way to cut up your patients—using intuitive motion controls to use your stethoscope, scalpel, and many more. This time, you’ve got more than one doctor at your disposal. In fact, you’ve got six.
First of all, Trauma Team is not drastically different from past entries, although it does implement new play styles that freshen things up a bit. You’ll be introduced to Resurgam First Care University Hospital in Maryland, where you follow six different connected storylines. Each of these six houses its own character you will use, and they all work together in some way.
The setup of the game allows you to play with each character alone, but not all at once. You can switch among them at any time. The most rewarding way to do this is to play through the episodes in order, because you’ll get the full experience of patient care. This means you’ll first diagnose a patient, and then you’ll go to the second doctor for surgery, and so on. The storylines of all of your doctors mix together, creating the feel of controlling the hospital as opposed to an individual doctor.
There are striking similarities to previous Trauma games, the biggest of which is your surgeon, aptly named CR-S01. The surgery aspect will feel like a close replication to what you’ve seen before, as you’ll use the scalpel along with other tools to do the operations and save lives. You’ll also be in charge of an orthopediatrist by the name of Freebird who will perform more intricate procedures that rely more on steadiness and patience and less on speed.
From here we move on to the next character, Tomoe Tachibana—an endoscopic technician. You’ll guide Tomoe through the depths of the insides of the human body draining blood, destroying tumors, and avoiding harm to the patient. The Wii remote is used here as a scope moving through a tunnel, twisting it and moving it closer and farther away from the screen. The change in controls is a nice distraction from the other modes, and serves to keep the gameplay fresh.
The simply named Cunningham is your friendly neighborhood diagnostician, whose job it is to determine what on earth is wrong with the patients who walk through his door. This process involves listening to everything your patient has to say and determining what is important, observing bodily characteristics, and examining various cat scans and MRI images. After collecting the evidence, you’ll make a decision as to the diagnosis.
Kimishima is your resident forensics expert, and is similar to Cunningham in that you won’t be actually performing any physical work, per say. Your role here is not unlike an investigator—you’ll find clues, examine and track evidence, and interview countless witnesses in order to determine the cause or causes of death. While this mode adds a nice investigative portion to the game, it does get extremely tedious at times as there is often one element to the case that you are missing that always seems to evade you.
You can work through the game in two difficulty settings. The easier setting is relatively easy to get through, but does not reward you as highly for certain accomplishments. If you want a challenge, go with the tougher difficulty, and you’ll find the many areas of the game will take a couple of tries. You’ll have objectives you need to complete as you move through the game. Knock a surgery out of the park above certain standards, and you might earn a “cool” rating. Puncture a patient’s inner walls and you’ll be hit with a “bad” rating. These add up to show what kind of a doctor you are.
If you need a break from the story mode, there is a co-op mode you can hop into with a friend. You’ll aid each other in surgical activities, help to point out clues and notable items in forensics and diagnostics, and share the responsibility of the well being of the patient. At the end of the day, while this mode can provide some short-term fun, it’s no more than a gimmick mode designed as a distraction.
There is a lot of fun to be had in Trauma Team. If you’re a series expert, you’ll be happy to know that the surgical strengths are still here and intact. If you’re new to the series, you’ll have fun learning all of the processes to execute as you move through the story. Each mode has its strengths and weaknesses, with the surgical sections, of course, being the strongest. The controls are strong for the most part, but there are still a number of issues that hold the series back from true excellence.
If you’re a fan of the series, or have an interest in the medical genre, I can definitely recommend this game to you. If you feel that you’ve played the series out, however, then there just may not be enough quality, fresh content to pull you back.