Anger. Frustration. Arguments. These are three of the occurrences that took place in the ONM office while Trauma Center: New Blood was gracing our Wii with its presence. It should have come as no surprise, of course. Anyone who's played one of the previous Trauma Center games on the Wii or DS should know that frustration is so common that it should be listed on the back of the box as a gameplay feature. But this... this really takes the cake.
In case you're not familiar with the Trauma Center games allow us to fill you in. You take on the role of a doctor and are asked to perform various operations on patients. While these operations start off as fairly straightforward routines - remove glass from a wound, extract tumours, reattach broken bones and the like - they eventually get ridiculous. Some, for example, see you removing biological virus insect things by zapping them with a laser as they swim around in the patient's bloodstream, opening up cuts in their vital organs. Hmm. We must have missed that episode of Holby City.
Now, we know the Trauma Center games are popular, and we know they have a following of dedicated fans, but we have to be honest here. While previous games in the series have been difficult, New Blood is just annoying, for numerous reasons. The lack of detailed instruction is frustrating, for example. When you're asked to place a pacemaker then asked to connect the wires to it without any indication as to where they should go, you'll be a bit miffed. But when you realise that every time you try to connect the wire to the wrong place you damage the patient (even though you aren't even touching her) you'll find it hard to keep the rage down. Why should we be punished because the game didn't give us enough information?
If that wasn't annoying enough, the game's warped sense of logic is also mind-boggling. Why does every single mistake in the game lead to the patient taking huge damage, even
if it wouldn't in real life? During the aforementioned pacemaker operation there are moments when the patient goes into cardiac arrest and performing any action on them will kill them. So we decided to prepare an injection by putting a syringe into a bottle of green fluid. Because we decided to do something (even though it was something that didn't affect the patient) she took damage and died.
At one point we picked something up from
a tray and our finger slipped off the B button, dropping it on the tray again by accident. This also killed our patient. Now, we know some may feel we're taking this a bit seriously and it's just a game but even so, it's an example of lazy programming. Different mistakes should have different results but instead the developers have opted for an over-simplistic 'mess up and kill them' rule that defies logic.
New Blood is a huge disappointment. Logistical problems aside, the game's main issue is that it's a Wii game. As the missions are harder than the original's (the skin-grafting one will have you tearing your own face off
in frustration), some require a level of precision that the natural shake of a hand struggles with. Had this been on the DS it'd have been fine but as it is, it's an absolutely infuriating experience.