With six distinct characters and over 40 operations, Trauma Team aims to revolutionize its niche genre.
Trauma Team is the fifth entry in the Trauma Center series, but it aims to be more than just another iterative entry; it hopes to be the next evolution in medical drama video games. It's going to try to expand the series by making it more accessible. Instead of focusing on one or two doctors, you will now switch between six different doctors who (specialize in different practices) as they go about their daily lives. The addition of these doctors opens the door for more variety in gameplay. For example, the coroner portions play out more like a point-and-click adventure game, as you try to deduce how the patient died.
At an online demo, I was able to watch an Atlus PR representative perform two different in-game operations. The first, which was the revamped endoscopy, starred a new character, Tomoe Tachibara. Using different tools, you travel around the patient's body treating ulcers and more, all the while avoiding the sides of the body.
In endoscopy, you operate from a first-person view as you feed a camera through a patient. It uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and the Wii Remote's pointer is used as a light - the only source of light you have at your disposal. You can move the camera around with the analog stick or the IR pointer. You can move the camera forward by pinching the A and B buttons and gesturing forward with the Wii Remote, and you can bring back the camera by holding down on the D-pad. There is also radar that can be used to find other areas of infection as you move around.
Endoscopy is meant to be less frantic, focusing more on precision and strategy, as there is no timer at the top of the screen. There's simply a health meter for the patient that seems to only go down when you make a mistake. The game offers up hints as to what tool to use, and in general is more forgiving than past titles.
The next operation was related to orthopedics as I saw Hank Freebird, under the control of the PR representative, try to fix the broken arm and leg of a patient who had attempted suicide. Orthopedics uses only the Wii Remote, and for most of this demo, the focus is on piecing bones back together and setting them. You drill into the bone with the pointer as you drag and move the drill through a tight area. The same process is also used for cutting synthetic bones, but it is a lot more challenging. Using the accelerometer in the Wii Remote, you hammer in pins to help the bones stay in place.
The ranking system from past games comes back and remains largely unchanged. The representative teased that there will be something else regarding the ranking system that will be announced later, though. Unlike the last Wii outing, there will be no online leaderboards, or any online modes at all. Also, the cut scenes, which were very static in past games, will be more animated and similar to Elite Beat Agents, according to the PR representative.
As far as the story is concerned, it will be the same heavy-handed drama as in past games, but it will be less fantastical this time. GUILT won't be making a return, and there will be no healing touch. Very few characters will return from past games. Nozomi Weaver, who made her debut as the second character in Trauma Center: Second Opinion, returns as a main character, but is now a coroner and will be referred to by her Japanese name, Naomi Kimishima.
Trauma Team is set for a spring 2010 release.