Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Trauma Centre: Second Opinion (Wii)

I borrowed Trauma Centre from the department, and was looking forward to trying it since it looked like it was really going to let you make the most of the Wii Remote. Plus, cutting up people and trying to stitch them up seemed like it should be fun. The game took a little while to get going since it was introducing the characters which seemed fair enough at the time. You play this sort of inept new doctor, who essentially depends on a more experienced (young, pretty, female – big surprise) nurse to guide you through your first couple of operations. This seemed to be a pretty good way to introduce you to the controls and sequences you have to go through, especially in my case as for some reason the dept has the German version of the game (its in English but the manual isn’t) so I had no idea what I was doing at first. I managed to kill my first patient straight away, by not realising I had to put the glass shards I tweezed out on a plate on the side of the screen and lowering my patients vitals pretty quick. The music definitely adds to the tension, as does the time limit and the fact the nurse keeps calling out “doctor!” – making think I’ve done something wrong when she is just telling me what I should do next.

So anyway, after my initial failure, I started to get the hang of it. The operations were fun, and I seemed to pick up what I needed to do without really realising it. This was something I noticed when I got a new nurse (also female, younger and possibly prettier but definitely less helpful) and had to figure out what I needed to do when on my own. Some of the tools were easier to use than others, for instance I quite liked the scalpel since you just had to wave the remote in a relatively straight line but had trouble with suturing as it took me a while to figure all I needed was a zig zag motion across the wound. There were some tasks though I had real problems with like using the defibrillators, and learning how to draw a star so I could activate my healing touch (more later on this). The game threw some medical terms at me, some of which may have been real and as you go on, some which were definitely not. But you didn’t seem to need much of this information to do the actual operations so I didn’t care too much.

I also didn’t really care too much about the narrative – in part at least because it was all scripted and I had no control over my character, who I didn’t really identify with, and because it all seemed a little silly. You have to play this inept doctor (even if you do get given an A at the end of all your operations), who goes on to discover he has the “healing touch” (an ability passed down from the ancient Greeks which allows you to slow down time during operations when you play Derek or helps increase a patients vitals when you play the Nozomi sequences) and is actually the only one who can defeat the GUILT virus. I laughed out loud when I first came across the GUILT virus, I thought for a minute it might be some horrible disease you get when your conscience has had enough but no apparently it stands for the Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin virus. And it looks like terrorists are to blame for it. Uh huh.

Trauma Centre is a fun game, and does utilise the Wii Remote and nun-chuck in pretty cool ways. It also manages to teach you how to use them without you having to think about it too much. The operations themselves are addictive; you did want to keep trying until you got the hang of a new tool/sequence (or until your patient didn’t die). You do want to get an A as opposed to C rating at the end of each one. Oh, and it helps you can change the difficulty rating at each operation. But the storyline didn’t really work for me. I started to lose interest and grew bored of having to click through seemingly endless storyboards (Which Will did mention when I borrowed it). I didn’t care about the characters, or the GUILT virus, I didn’t want to find out what was going to happen next. It all came across as a little ridiculous – surely we have enough diseases in the world without having to resort to made up terrorist ones – while it also treated issues such as suicide and euthanasia simplistically be resolving them in really cheesy ways. Any experiences of flow were definitely limited to the operation mode. Ultimately, it wasn’t emotionally engaging enough and I felt the story was getting in the way of me doing what I actually wanted to be doing.


Gill said...

Hi Jo,

Fascinating blog. Found it by following a link from Will's. I'm having trouble reading it unfortunately, due to the white on black. Reminiscent of the old terminal screens in the early days of computers. I was halfway through reading the Trauma centre description when I looked away and had white lines of text dancing before my eyes, so I had to stop. Any chace of a different template for those of us prone to visual disturbances? :)

Jo Iacovides said...

Hi Gill

Thanks for the comment. I hadn't thought about the template being difficult to read - will try something different so please let me know if you have any problems.