Review: Trauma Team

Susan Arendt | 27 Apr 2010 09:00
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I've always been more of a spiritual fan of the Trauma series of games than an actual fan. While I appreciated their unique concept and clever use of the DS stylus and Wii Remote, they were always just a bit too finnicky for me. I may as well have had a cloak and a scythe, I killed so many patients, because I couldn't deal with the timer, or my hand wasn't steady enough, or I forgot what instrument to use. The newest game in the series, Trauma Team (Wii), takes away all of that frustration without getting rid of any of the challenge, and even throws in some new medical specialties, too.

In case you're not familiar with the Trauma franchise, they cast you as brilliant young surgeons slicing and sewing your way to greatness and acclaim. The instruments and techniques are, understandably, simplified versions of their real-world counterparts, but close enough to give you the general idea of what it might be like to, say, remove a tumor from someone's lung. Trauma Team varies from the formula a bit by having you play as six characters specializing in different fields of medicine: surgery, endoscopy, orthopaedics, first response, diagnostics, and forensics.

Though each specialist's handles vastly different cases from the rest, you'll use the same general techniques throughout the game. You'll select your instrument from a wheel using the thumbstick on the Nunchuk, then apply it by pointing the Wii Remote at the appropriate area and hitting the A button. Unlike previous Trauma titles that expected you to remember the specific order for procedures like dressing wounds, Trauma Team thoughtfully provides icons indicating what tool you need next. This allows you to enjoy the actual challenge of the procedure, as opposed to watching your patient's vitals drop while you try to remember if you're supposed to be using the laser, the drain, or the gel.

You can switch between the specialists as the mood suits you, or just plow straight through one storyline after the other. The doctors' stories interweave and overlap, so it's actually quite enjoyable to mix and match, but you'll undoubtedly find your favorites very quickly. The surgeon and endoscopist play roughly the same, the biggest difference being that in addition to performing intricate surgeries, the latter also requires you to navigate the endoscope by gesturing forward with the Remote. It's a bit awkward at first, but after you bump into a few intestinal walls, you get the hang of it. The orthopaedist's cases rely more on a steady hand and good timing as you trace guidelines with your scalpel and drill screws into bones at just the right depth.

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