Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2

Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2
Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 Cover
Platform Nintendo DS
Genre Awesomly Difficult Medical Sim
Score 8  Clock score of 8Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 10
Gfx/Sound: 8
Story: 4
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Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 is the direct sequel to one of my favorite Nintendo DS games Before I played the original Trauma Center, I had never understood the real appeal of the DS. That game, along with Kirby Canvas Curse, demonstrated what the system was really capable of and how much fun it could be. So when the sequel was released, I put it at the top of my list to play. I actually beat this game about two months ago, but things have been pretty busy so I haven't been able to write the review until now.

The Trauma Center series pits you as a highly skilled surgeon working for Caduceus, a well funded research facility. The games are highly linear, with tons of text, so if you're looking for a straight surgery simulator, you'll have to wade through a lot of cruft to get to it. If you can put up with much too serious characters in contrived situations, then you will be rewarded with excellent and difficult gameplay. Let's get to my review of Trauma Center 2.

All scores are out of 10.

Scores

Gameplay: 8
If you've never played a Trauma Center game, you really have no idea about the genius behind these games. Virtual operations are fun, especially with the DS stylus. I've never played the games on the Wii but I can't imagine they work as well. Cutting up patients, excising some scary crap inside their body, and sewing them back up comes so natural on the DS. Trauma Center 2 adds a few new tools to work with, the biggest being the Defibrilator, though all the new gameplay aspects are used pretty infrequently. This is a bit disappointing, especially since many of the ailments you deal with are the same from the first game. It does everything excellent though, and if you're new to the series, consider this a 10.

Fun Factor: 10
This series is such a satisfying game to play because it is so difficult, Trauma Center 2 is no exception. You will get angry, you will want to throw your DS across the room, you may even break your stylus in half over your knee (if it was possible). But when you finally beat that level, and you will, you will smile and realize that you are actually playing a tough game and you're beating it! The game is never really unfair, the challenging part is balancing so many things at once: your patient's health, the time, and of course, the nasty GUILT parasite eating at their liver. If you like hard games that are fun to play, then this is the game for you.

One huge note, the extremely obnoxious and incredibly ridiculous GUILT parasite from the original, Triti, is not in this game! I kept waiting for it to appear and ruin my afternoon. Thank you Atlus, thank you.

Graphics and Sound: 8
Trauma Center 2 features great character art and well animated injuries and parasites. The operating field is easy to navigate and doesn't interfere from doing your job. The only problem is that virtually nothing has changed graphically from the original. I don't mean to punish games for doing this, but it just reminds you that you're playing more of the same. It's not necessarily bad, but some risks would have been nice. Angie, the nurse returns with her incessant nagging voice during operations, and everyone speaks random stuff while chatting away with you. There's also a bunch of useful sound effects informing you that a giant fist-sized parasite just ripped itself out of your patient's heart. Nice.

A few random graphical notes: females on the operating table are now covered instead of being nippleless like in the original, which was actually hit with a "Partial Nudity" warning from the ESRB. Now it's down to just "Mild Suggestive Themes." Odd enough, there's a busty new woman that gets the cleavage zoom treatment, check out the picture at the bottom.

Story: 4
Reading my introduction, you can probably tell I'm not a huge fan of Trauma Center's story. There's just way too much drama between the characters that bogs the story down in between levels. You can press the Select button and it will fly through the text super fast, but I can't allow myself to do that, so I put up with it. Along with the melodrama between characters, you realize pretty quickly that you'll essentially be operating on everyone you meet at some point in the game, and you're just waiting for the next crazy event to happen to allow for it. Also, if you played the original, it's a little disappointing to know that GUILT, the human created parasite, is back. It would be nice for something new next time.

Overall: 8
Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 is essentially the same game as the original Under the Knife. The stories are similar, the gameplay is pretty much the same, and they reused most of the sprites and sound effects. But there is no better playing game in its class, and it is still a ton of fun. And that's what counts, right?

Trauma Center 2 Reina Cleavage