Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2

Stare at our wall o’ surgery - and stare you should - and it’s impossible not to see the debt Under The Knife 2 owes to its big Wii brother. Revamped graphics - the more solidly-3D Wii bodies and organs have been shipped in - are accompanied by the various surgical tweakings implemented for the remote.The rib cage and leg operations see the terrific bone jigsaws return and we’ve also seen the defibrillators make their DS debut. Taking a page out of New Blood’s viscera-encrusted book, focus has shifted onto larger biological battlefields, with scrolling required to navigate a tumor-sprouting gut and to tour a field of brain aneurysms.

Opinions are divided over remote versus stylus - we find stitching and cutting better tuned to the stylus, but the ease of analogue-stick tool selection puts the remote just ahead - and we don’t expect this to change. Tools are still touch selected - troublesome when the icons are next to the area being operated on - but Atlus is adding a Beginner’s mode to ease people into play. Expect leniency towards mistakes and far fewer snapped styli.

In terms of Trauma Center ‘canon’, this is a direct sequel to Under The Knife, dealing with the aftermath of GUILT. Marcus and Valerie may have taken the Wii spotlight with their STIGMA shenanigans, but old hands Derek Stiles and Nurse Angie are back - in their rather grown-up, hand-drawn Wii forms - for round two with the feverish foe. Stiles travels to the fictional African Republic of Costigar to help people recovering from a brutal war. Where New Blood focused on dodgy organ transplants this deals with anti-aging medicine and a doctor shortage.

The colour puzzle shows that Under The Knife 2 will still mix up surgery with research puzzles and non-surgical operations (such as the bomb defusing in the first game) while Atlus has announced a new mystery tool that’ll be mic-controlled. Intriguing stuff from one of our favourite franchises.

Jun 5, 2008