Saturday, June 20, 2009
Video Game Review: Trauma Center: New Blood (Wii)
Erin and I discovered one of our first co-gaming successes about three months after our big day. Trauma Center: New Blood for the Nintendo Wii has been one of the games we go back to time and time again. In fact, we just beat this game on the easy difficulty after a year or so of playing sporadically. I’m not positive whether this game is good to play solo because I played every mission with Erin (although I suspect it is a great one-player experience); I can say enthusiastically, though, that this game has been a blast to play with the Mrs.
Trauma Center: New Blood has a great theme. You, and your friend if you are playing co-op, take the role of a surgeon. You can choose to play as one of two young doctors: Markus Vaughn and Valarie Blaylock. Each of the good doctors has a special “healing touch” that can be used once during the course of a surgery. Markus’ special can slow time, and Valarie’s special makes sure your patient can’t be hurt for a short time.
There are about 40 missions in the game, so New Blood will be keep you busy for a while. One great thing about this game in regards to playing it with Erin is that it has a great tutorial system. Instead of simply giving you a boring tutorial mode, the game actually teaches you how to play as you go through your first few surgeries, so you get thrown right into the action.
You press a direction on the nunchuk to choose the proper tool (scalpels, syringes, sutures, and more) for the task at hand, and you use the Wiimote for pointing at the screen and actually using the chosen tool. Your surgical tasks can include anything from pulling glass out of a patient’s organs, piecing together broken bones, using a laser to blast critical viruses to oblivion, doing a little brain surgery, and anything in between.
The game can range from slightly frustrating to absolutely hilarious. I have to admit that Erin and I got a bit peeved at each other when our communication broke down during some of the more intense missions. Let this be a warning to those readers whose marriages may be a little rocky at the moment: this game can cause bickering. I think that the game box should probably come with a warning saying as much. I'd hate to think that a couple would break up over this game.
The hilarious moments come into play when you take a step back and think of the absurdity of the situation you are in. Sometimes you'll miss the mark with your scalpel only to knock a few points off of you patient's health bar (called vitals in the game). You'll cringe at first, but then chuckle that you haven't manslaughtered your patient and keep on going with the surgery. Sometimes, though, a patient's vitals get too low and you do manslaughter your patient--that is no laughing matter. You get a game over screen and a doctor who is more important that you comes in to talk down to you and take over the surgery. (You can always restart the mission, so really the only thing you lose is the time you invested in the mission so far.)
Each surgery has a time limit, up to 10 minutes long. You get a grade after each successful surgery, C, B, A, S or XS (the highest) based on your time, your precision, and bring able to combo together successful maneuvers during surgery.
In between surgeries, you are treated to a storyline that starts out as rather mundane, but quickly evolves into an over-the-top and melodramatic affair involving global medical networks, the mafia, and a deadly virus that threatens mankind. The story is told via anime-styled drawings of characters combined with voice-over acting. The storytelling portion of the game works, and it should definitely get a few chuckles from you should you play this game. Erin and I both enjoyed the storyline, although at times the dialogue is long winded. Overall, though, we are definitely glad that the story is there to be enjoyed (or skipped over by pressing A repeatedly).
Trauma Center: New Blood gets my highest recommendation for couples. While Erin and I didn’t tear through this game in a hurry, it has kept our interest for over a year now. Now that we're done, we have some bonus missions to complete, and I think that we will continue to go back to this game in order to change some of our C grades into B’s , A’s, and S’s. It’s a ton of fun, and a game that I suspect works best in pairs. If you have a Wii and a significant other, go buy this game!
Amazon Link to Trauma Center: New Blood