Friday, 2 September 2011

Trauma center:Under the knife 2

Gamespot score:8.5(great)

my score:7.9

(+)Pros:-Operations are very fast paced and well executed in game,-story intensifies and gets interesting pretty quickly,-good variety of different operations,-both new and old characters are have great personalities,-"boss fights" are fun,- you can set the game on easy!

(-)Cons:-Steep difficulty curve,-once again theres too much talking in between operations,-light on content.

gameplay time:Less than 10 hours

Operation time! Time for one of atlus's more well known franchises, trauma center. While the franchise itself has plenty of entries, I only played the ones on the DS, meaning the 2 under the knife titles. The first one to me....was rather hard and punishing. Well the game had solid concept and gameplay mechanics, it was too hard for me to properly enjoy :(. Still, it was a fun experience and definetely a good game. The 2nd one, is obviously better. However, for me, I still don't think it deserves an 8.0 (or even 8.5, as gamespot gave). Its still good though, and definetely more tolerable to play through than the 1st one.

Under the knife 2's story takes place 3 years after the events of the 1st game. The game starts off in africa, where doctor derek stiles, our main man, is operating on certain patients affected by the ongoing war in that area. Of course, he is joined by angie, his trusty nurse sidekick (who possibly made a cameo in etrian odyssey 3). It doesnt take long before he needs to return back to the US though, since previous patients of GUILT, a bioterrorist threat from the first game, have started to develop new symptoms. Joined by old friends and new ones alike, derek and angie go back to tackle the deadly virus, in hopes to finally find a permanent solution to it this time.

You operate on many body parts, ranging from organs to limbs.

Trauma center 2 has addictive gameplay similar to that of the 1st game, but this time round, the game becomes more linient and easier to play. The game's tutorials do not require you to do ridiculously hard stuff any more. Gameplay has a more linient and steady flow this time round, and you can actually switch difficulties! This is a great addition to me, who though that the 1st game was ridiculously hard. As with the 1st game, the game is heavily text driven, theres no navigation what so ever, its just walls of text after walls of text, kind of like ace attorney and professor layton. The game flow is very similar to that of the 1st game, you complete an operation, get a few story scenes and conversations, then move on to the next operation.

Operarions don't last very long, probably 10-15 minutes at most, and those are some of the harder ones. And after each operation you go into more scenes, which can take about 5-10 minutes of reading each. Many a times there will be more scenes as the game progresses, leaving you light on operations in comparision to the story scenes. Still, the story is great, and it intensifies early on. Combine that with the great cast of mostly recognizable characters from the 1st game, the conversations are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Your huge array of tools mean that you have lots of different
varieties of operations to deal with..
 Now on to the best part of trauma center, its addictive gameplay. If you've played the 1st under the knife, you should know exactly what to expect, with much smoother touch screen interface and better control. Like before, you make you of your many tools to tackle the many types of operations you are faced with. Theres quite some variety here when it comes to operations, and under the knife 2 isnt stingy with them. You operate on infected organs, injured limbs, and many more. Even on these different parts of the body you operate on, theres a good variety to these ops. On organs, you stop blood clogs, remove foreign objects and rid of the many tumors that appear on them. On limbs, you mostly extract bone fragments and replace them back like a jigsaw puzzle, or treat heavy wounds.

While there is already a good variety of operations to keep your hands busy, you will be faced with a "boss fight" once in awhile. There may be times where you will be faced with an extremely persistant virus that has entrenched themselves deep in the patient's body, and you will have to remove them. Like "bosses" you have to rid of them repeatedly, and deal damage to it steadily until it falls. These are tough, but extremely fun. Of course, derek has a secret weapon of his own to counter the many tough operations he has to handle. Once again, those who played the 1st game should know what I'm referring to. Thats right, the healing touch. To activate it, you draw a star symbol during an operation. This is a special talent given to derek and only a few select doctors, and it helps freeze time during an operation. Thats right, you heard me, freeze time. Its good and definetely helps in tight spots, though it can only be used once per operation.

The standard procedure to end a operation, closing the patient up.

Trauma center, though improved in almost every way, still suffers the same problems as its predessecor. Its longer than the 1st game, thats for sure, but its still light on content. You probably wont replay an operation again once you cleared it, and while theres alot of them in the game, each operation isnt long, as I mentioned earlier. Next up is the steep difficulty curve. While the game is definetely easier, those new to it will get thier asses kicked, alot. Even on easy, there are alot of possible scenarios where failing a few times is pretty normal. Finally, its the fact that you probably spend more time talking than operating. There are alot of story scenes, which is good, but with so much of them to spoil your pacing between gets kind of annoying.

Under the knife 2 is a good improvement over the 1st one, but to me, it still doesn't hit the "great" list, not quite yet. But don't get mistaken, its unique and addictive gameplay is still something to sing praises about, and I think game companies should start making more unique game like this one....stuff like phoenix wright, professor layton and even limbo. I recommend under the knife 2 to anyone who is looking for something different and unique. Of course, get under the knife one first, or you won't have a clue to whats going on.

Happy gaming.