Review: Trauma Team (Wii)April 26th, 2010 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: Reviews, Wii
Atlus has made the interesting move of opening the latest entry in the Trauma Center series to having multiple protagonists to provide more variety to the game. Trauma Team features a cast of six doctors, each in a different field of medicine that offers a different type of experience that sets them apart from each other. The end result is a refreshing sequel that is more grounded in reality so you can more easily care about the story and characters that Atlus spent a lot of time to flesh out.
Trauma Team’s story centers around this group of doctors at Resurgam First Care, one of the finest hospitals on the east coast of the United States. The cast includes orthopedic surgeon Hank Freebird, first response Maria Torres, endoscopic surgeon Tomoe Tachibana, diagnostician Gabriel Cunningham, surgeon-on-loan-from-prison CR-S01, and the forensic examiner from the Cumberland Institute of Forensic Medicine, Naomi Kimishima. Their stories are presented as individual mission threads in the campaign so you can follow one story from start to end or play through with a bit of order since the missions are places on the menus in such a way to denote a timeline.
The main campaign in Trauma Team is about 30 missions long, so about five or six missions per doctor that ends up lasting about 20 hours to complete. Though most of the surgeries take about ten minutes at most, the diagnosis and forensics missions can last quite a bit longer with the forensics missions requiring an hour or more to complete since they are more like miniature adventure games than surgeries you would associate with this series. While each doctor’s story concludes in a satisfying way at that point, there is an additional set of story missions that unlocks to give you quite a bit more to do to stretch that completion time to nearly 30 hours.
The intimidating difficulty curve was the biggest issue with the last Trauma Center game on the Wii, which Atlus managed to tune Trauma Team just right for single-player and co-op. The four surgery types don’t get too hard on the normal difficulty when you’re by yourself and co-op gets a bump up in difficulty that works well for a two-person combo. Once you do beat the game, you unlock the hard difficulty that can offer a harder experience for the best surgeons out there.
The six types of missions in Trauma Team offer a great variety of experiences that ranges from the four styles of surgery to the two investigative modes that feel more like an adventure game. The surgery modes offer a few different styles depending on the field that the doctor is in, though Trauma Center fans will find CR-S01’s general surgery missions to be a comforting nod to the previous games in the series. First response with Maria offers a more fast-paced style of surgery as Maria performs simple surgery to prepare the patients for their trip to Resurgam. Hank’s orthopedic surgery offers a more streamlined surgery experience since your tool is switched out with whatever is needed next so that you can focus more on doing your best than being quick and efficient. Tomoe’s endoscopic surgery is the most radical style of mission since you’re controlling the endoscope as it makes its way through the insides of the patient to take care of the abnormalities inside.
The adventure-style missions in Trauma Team are the most refreshing parts by far since you’re not performing intense surgery and can take your time. The forensics and diagnosis missions are all about collecting as many clues as you can through various means to be able to reach the final conclusion, though Gabe works with the living and Naomi works with the dead. Both of these styles are also unique in that you’re not graded at the end since you have a Legend of Zelda-like heart system where you lose a heart when you make a mistake during the mission.
Though Trauma Team is definitely an excellent game, it does have some issues that keep it from being perfect. Tomoe’s missions are probably the worst of the bunch, though not necessarily bad, as moving around requires constantly moving the Wii Remote forwards or backwards to navigate the insides of the patient that can get tiring in later missions that aren’t that linear. Hank’s missions also have some issues with the camera being too zoomed in when using the scalpel, which requires the camera to move around even though precision is necessary, and using the Wii Remote as a hammer can be a bit imprecise when you need a fine touch. What may be a bit of a nitpick is that the drill Hank uses for drilling into bone usually doesn’t have a long enough drill bit for most of the holes that you’re asked to drill.
Trauma Team uses more of a conservative style for its surgeries, so you won’t see much blood or any gnarly gore outside of the occasional steel beam in the stomach. That approach does lead to some of the abnormalities in the body looking like gems, which feels a bit out of place when the game as a whole is supposed to be more realistic now. The story is told with a really cool motion comic style that appears in the menus as an interesting style that you don’t see often in this kind of game.
The soundtrack for Trauma Team definitely seems to be all about emphasizing the intensity of the situations you’re in without letting you relax until the mission is over. The cutscenes are fully-voiced with some recognizable voices that you may recognize from other games, Atlus or otherwise, which are very well done. The only issue for the voice acting is that it also pops up in surgeries at times, which interrupts the action when you have to press the A button to continue that really shouldn’t get in the way.
Trauma Team is a great new avenue for this series with more variety to the action and a story to actually care about. The campaign is a meaty 30 hours long with the option for co-op is most of the missions and additional difficulties to really test your skills. For $39.99, Trauma Team is an easy recommendation for Wii owners.