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Review: Trauma Team

Susan Arendt | 27 Apr 2010 13:00
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The first responder (think EMT) puts a slightly different twist on the gameplay by not only limiting the tools at your disposal, but also forcing you to triage your patients. You'll have to stop treating one patient to quickly stabilize another, shuttling back and forth to make sure the most victims survive, all while trying to save lives with little more than a box cutter and a ballpoint pen. It makes for some very tense, but very exciting, situations.

For those looking for a more cerebral (and less likely to induce high blood pressure) experience, there are the specialists in diagnostics and forensics. Their cases play out like detective stories, requiring you to ask a lot of questions, compare tests and lab results, carefully examine bodies, and, above all, think. There's no clock to race or rank to achieve, just a single right answer that needs to be found. While both of these specialties are a wonderful break from the go-go-go pace of the others, they can be a bit tedious if you've missed some small detail and have to comb through your findings over and over until you find it - the type of thing with which old school adventure fans are very, very familiar. Still, it's a minor quibble about what is otherwise some very creative and refreshing gameplay.

Most of the specialties also offer the opportunity for co-op play, with players either divvying up the instruments or flat-out taking turns during the procedure. There aren't really any tools to use during the diagnostics or forensics levels, but those specialties are more puzzle based, which makes shouting advice from the sidelines not only fair play, but advisable.

Trauma Team thoughtfully provides you with the option to skip the cutscenes and just get right on to the surgery, if that's what you'd prefer, but I'm going to urge you not to miss one single moment of storyline. The Trauma games have always had rather bizarre plotlines, but Trauma Team really goes the extra mile when it comes to weirdness. You've got the master surgeon who's currently serving a 250 year jail term for a crime he can't remember committing, the doctor who follows "the path of honor" had her own endoscope made out of gold and who disappears like a ninja, the forensic scientist is in witness protection, and a masked superhero. It's all completely goofy, surreal, and marvelous. The beautiful anime-style artwork that graces the comic book panels that display the scenes sure don't hurt, either.

Bottom Line: It's a kinder, gentler Trauma Team, and that's a good thing. It's also got the most variety, offering both twitch surgery and medical puzzles.

Recommendation: If you find the idea of a medical sim even remotely intriguing, this is the Trauma game you should be playing. Sheer fun from start to finish.

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