Review - Trauma Center: Under the Knife (NDS)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Volsfan91, Sep 21, 2006.

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Sep 21, 2006
  1. Volsfan91
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    Member Volsfan91 GBAtemp Regular

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    -NOW REVIEWING-
    [​IMG]
    Trauma Center: Under the Knife


    -INTRODUCTION-
    It has to be one of the most unique concepts that I have ever bought into. Although I am no big believer in gore or blood and guts, as soon as I picked up my copy of Trauma Center: Under the Knife I was enchanted and taken aback by the tremendous gameplay and great ideas driving this instant classic.

    -GAMEPLAY-
    You know, Trauma Center is one of those games that people don't believe until they play. I couldn't tell you how many friends have been converted to Trauma Center and Atlus fans after playing this game. It's definitely a strange concept, but one that I think that everyone can enjoy if they really want to.

    First of all, the use of the touch screen is quite good overall. The game is entirely touch screen driven, so any d-pad enthusiasts need not apply. The game requires very precise strokes when in the operating room itself. Sometimes, you won't quite understand your assistant nurse's directions, and you'll find yourself struggling to follow instructions. I have often wondered how much this has to do with this being Atlus' first foray into designing a game on the DS. Nintendo is notorious for not helping third part developers, and I just wonder how much support Atlus was offered on this game.

    Don't get me wrong- the touch screen is a great mechanism for this game. This is why the DS is so great- there is no other system that this game could have possibly existed on. The game requires precision, and thus, makes the game feel as close to real surgery as many of us squeamish types will ever get. Screw up a certain number of times, and you'll find your rating dropping like bricks.

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    Oh, the story. More drama than your average daytime soap opera. My little sister loved this game mostly because of the awesome story. I never really bought into the story on this game, because I was more interested in just getting to the meat of the gameplay, but for me, it was always a nice touch to have a somewhat exciting story.

    There are quite a few operations that will have you using a variety of tools. Whether it's using a scalpel, laser, or skin replacement membrane, the tools at your disposal are never far away. Surgery feels somewhat linear, but this is actually pretty understandable. I especially like how the screens were used, with the tools on the sides, and the action taking place in the middle. Because of this, it is a great setup that will keep you in the action and test your skills of selecting tools quickly and effectively.

    The gameplay uniqueness and new ideas incorporated make for a great gameplay style.

    Rating: 10/10

    -GRAPHICS-
    One of the things that I was concerned about when I picked this game up was the blood and guts type gameplay. I'm kind of a squeamish person, but I was pleasantly surprised how the graphic design crew of this game found a nice blend of realism and cartoon style graphics. This made for a realistic but enjoyable content blend. I'm sure that this was something that the team struggled with, but the decisions made were great.

    There is definitely some use of the 3D engines that the DS has to offer. It may be a throbbing heart or moving lung that you'll see rendered nicely. The game is clearly influenced by the Japanese manga style. While not as cartoony, many of the characters are drawn in a similar fashion.

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    The graphics are certainly a nice touch in the game, and creates the atmosphere that this game craved and needed.

    Rating: 9/10

    -SOUND-

    The music is dramatic and influenced by the operation at hand. This is a nice touch that can really make you feel frantic while playing through the operations. There is also a throbbing in the background that helps you keep with the tempo of the patient's health.

    Although I am no sound expert, the sound effects are awesome! They are clean and crisp, and really fit well. I can still recall that sound of when you fail an operation. (Something you should get used to- this is a difficult game!)

    Rating: 8/10

    -REPLAY VALUE-

    It's not that the story mode is so long- it's more about the difficulty and how many tries it will take you. Once you finish the story mode, you can go back and play the levels that you have beaten.

    The game also has a ranking system to tell you how well you did on an operation. This makes for some great replay value, especially for perfectionists such as myself.

    Not surprisingly, there is no multiplayer mode. I'm not sure how they would have done this, though. Battle of the surgeons, perhaps?

    Rating: 8/10

    -WRAPPING UP-

    Trauma Center: Under the Knife is a game that is unmatched in style, execution, and concept. Anyone who is looking for something out of the norm need look no further. From the minute you pop it in your DS slot, (or put it on your flashcart) You'll find yourself appreciating the fresh concept and new ideas. Because of this, Trauma Center is a great pickup.

    Final Mathematical Score: 90/100

    Mathematical explanation:
    Each category is given a mathematical weight, so that each category matters more than others. Obviously, gameplay is more important than sound. Also, I plan on eventually revising the weights, but here goes the current scale:

    Gameplay: Weight of 4 (times score)
    Graphics: Weight of 2 (times score)
    Sound: Weight of 2 (times score)
    Replay Value: Weight of 2 (times score)

    So, the score for this game is like this:
    Gameplay: 4x(10)
    Graphics: 2x(9)
    Sound: 2x(8)
    Replay Value: 2x(8)

    Add them all up, and you get... 90/100

    This has been a Volsfan91 review of Share your thoughts, comments, or opinions through private message if you so choose!
     
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