The Trauma Center series is a perfect way to utilize the DS and the Wii controls. Trauma Center: New Blood is the third game in the series. Trauma Center: Under the Knife was on the DS and it was so difficult, that when it was exported onto the Wii as Trauma Center: Second Opinion, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go through all that stress and aggravation again. However, Trauma Center: New Blood allows you to bring a friend, making it an intense multiplayer experience worth playing.
This storyline revolves around two doctors, Markus Vaughn and Valerie Blaylock who are working at Montgomery Memorial hospital in Alaska. They are both very gifted and talented surgeons, so when the hospital closes, they go back to Concordia Medical Institute in Los Angeles. There they learn about a mysterious parasite called Stigma, which somehow infected a professor. The plot thickens in between surgeries, but you'll find yourself wishing they would just get to the point so that you can work on the next patient.
Before each surgery you have a brief conference but it doesn't really tell you what you need to do. There's a lot of technical jargon that you're not really required to understand, but once you begin the surgery, you are given a few pointers. A few times I wasn't sure what to do next, but after giving it a few tries you'll come up with ways to make the operation go more smoothly. Markus and Valerie are special because they have a skill called the "healing touch." You can activate it once during an operation; basically, it buys you more time if you've gotten yourself into a messy situation.
You'll play the game as if it is a serialized drama - in a series of "episodes". The first few episodes will introduce new techniques and you're expected to remember these procedures because they won't always be repeated later on. The tricky part is remembering when to drain and when to inject.
The nunchuck controls which instrument you will be using, and you perform the actions with the Wii-remote. You have a wheel of 8 options to choose from, which you select with the nunchuk. My hands aren't very stable, so I usually have the other player making the long incisions. Otherwise the other actions such as draining, lasing, or suturing don't require too much coordination except that you aim in the general direction. Your speed and accuracy do count, but even so, completing each level with Rank A is incredibly difficult.
Challenges in between episodes give you the ability to hone your skills. They're a bit long, but it's a good refresher course for those who jump into the game in the middle. It's a bit hard to ask someone new to join in because you build your skills as you go. When it comes to handling various forms of Stigma, you'll want an experienced player next to you.
The story is told through background stills and the characters pop up on screen whenever they have dialogue. The graphics haven't improved greatly since the last game, but this game is more about the gameplay than anything else. The storyline, if anything is rather corny and at times it feels like you're watching a terrible soap opera. At first when I heard about Trauma Center at E3 in 2006, I wasn't sure if I'd want to see guts and intestines on the screen but it really is very fake looking so that it doesn't make anyone queasy over it.
The music isn't very memorable but it does set the mood when you have those cheesy moments and it can get quite intense when you're in the middle of surgery. The voice acting is done well, if not for the long dialogue. There are a few moments where you'll find the story amusing, but when you wind up on some game show, you'll be asking yourself where the developers were going with this.
Despite the somewhat unappealing storyline, it still manages to keep you pushing forward. I can't imagine wanting to do surgeries over and over again without any real purpose unless you want to get a better rank. There is ability to share your scores online if that's what you're into.
I'd highly recommend Trauma Center: New Blood since the gameplay isn't very complicated but it is challenging to master. These surgeries can get really hard, but you won't find your arm excessively tired. You might cramp up a little bit if you're really tense. There is an addictive quality to this game, and there haven't been too many Wii games that I've really been drawn to and can't stop playing. It's definitely worth playing with a friend. If you're anything like me, attempting it solo will probably make you frustrated and you'll want to move onto something else.