Medical TV shows have always interested the general public. No matter what time of day it is, you’re bound to catch a show that has something to do with medicine such as General Hospital, The Doctors, and even House. The same hasn’t rang true for games based on medical drama, unless your talking about Atlus’ medical games. The Trauma series first started off on the Nintendo DS, but slowly gravitated to the Nintendo Wii. Atlus’ latest game, Trauma Team, puts an interesting perspective on its already successful formula. In fact, you might say Trauma Team puts the game in several perspectives.
Trauma Team is a medical drama game developed by Atlus and it follows the stories of six medical professionals, all of which have their own roles in the medical field. You’ll play as a First-Response Doctor, a Medical Diagnostician, a Forensic Doctor, a Surgeon, an Endoscopic Surgeon, and an Orthopedic Surgeon. From the start of the game, you’ll be able to choose which character’s story you’d like to play. Each character interacts with the others at some point in their story, which offers a broader view of everyone’s story and personas as following just one character’s story won’t give you their entire story.
Depending on the character you choose, you may need to perform surgery. The surgery sequences require you to use your Wii-mote to interact with the patient’s body to cure them of their ailments. The surgeries can either require you to take your time and be thoughtful of your actions, or require more fast-paced decision making that will certainly keep you on your toes. You’ll need to keep an eye on your patient’s vital signs as once their vital hits zero, you’ll fail. During these surgeries, you’ll be rated on how well you perform. At the end of the surgery, you’re given a rank which indicates your overall performance during the surgery. The plethora of tools at your disposal, such as scalpels, antibiotic cream, and ultrasound, offer a wide range of possibilities in treating your patient. At first, the game will guide you on what needs to be done, but the deeper in a character’s story you go, the less help you’ll receive from the game. This increase in difficulty adds a good amount of challenge, so be sure to pay attention to what you’re doing early on.
Two new character roles in Trauma Team are the diagnostic & forensic medical fields. Both the diagnostic & forensic medical fields will require more thought from the player than the other medical fields. As the diagnostician, it’ll be your job to diagnose the patient’s ailment. You’ll need to speak with them, runs tests, and attempt to diagnose their condition from the clues given by the patient. As the forensic doctor, you’ll visit crime scenes, observe cadavers, and piece together clues to come up with a conclusion as to the cause of a person’s death. Both of these medical fields take longer than the other fields to complete, but they offer a great amount of diversity and challenge.
Both the voice acting and art style are top notch. I’m usually not a fan of games from Japan that have English voice tracks, but Atlus did a good job at ensuring the voice actors delivered their lines in a natural way. As for the art style, it has a heavy anime influence with a comic book feel to it as the game’s story plays out frame by frame. There are small instances where an animation will be visible, such as a cell phone vibrating or the smoke of a cigarette, which makes the overall scene pop out more.
One issue I had with Trauma Team and previous games in the Trauma series was the sensitivity of the Wii-mote. Even in the steadiest of hands, the on-screen cursor tends to shake a bit, which can result in missed inputs. With Nintendo releasing the Wii Motion Plus a year ago, Trauma Center would have certainly benefited from it. Hopefully Atlus decides to take that into consideration if they decide to create another Trauma title for the Wii.
FINAL THOUGHT: I’ve always had a deep interest in the medical field, but there’s no way I’d want to be in charge of someone else’s life. With that said, I’ve always enjoyed Atlus’ Trauma series of games, and Trauma Center is by far the best in the series. Allowing the player to take the role of multiple doctors in their field of expertise offers a lot of variety and keeps the game interesting from start to finish.