Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Want to play doctor? Pick up "New Blood" on the Wii

Please forgive me, readers. I have a date with a gunshot victim in the E.R. in "New Blood."

Developed by Atlus, the popular DS series "Trauma Center," makes another trip to the Nintendo Wii. This installment, "New Blood," is the follow-up to "Trauma Center Second Opinion" and arrives refreshed and ready for duty.

If you are familiar with the game, you understand the premise. You start the game as a fledgling doctor and operate on patients, gunshot victims and train between missions. You will progress to much harder operations and surgeries. This time, you are stationed at a small hospital in Alaska. You can choose to play as the ace doctor, Markus Vaughn or another ace, Valerie Blaylock.

Players will use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to make delicate procedures and use several medical instruments, including sutures, forceps, lasers and scalpels to get patients back on the road to recovery.

After a few sessions, you'll feel like you could step on the set of "Grey's Anatomy" and assist the actors.

Be forewarned - expect a challenge with "New Blood." Even on the lowest setting, the game requires a very steady hand. That alone adds value to the game. In real life, doctors go to school for years just to intern in hospitals and urgent care facilities. For a gamer to pick up a Wii Remote and Nunchuk and start operating would really hurt the title's credibility. So what if it's difficult - a scalpel requires precision. Controls are tight, but sometimes, using the Nunchuk can be hard. You will find yourself grabbing the wrong tool and losing precious seconds - and having to go back and do it again. It's a fast process, but it can eat away at time when you have to do it a few times in a row.

Seriously, the control issue is rather minor. If you can spend hours, days with a shooter, you can buckle down and learn about anatomy. Take that, Master Chief!

From removing a bullet - oh, let me tell you - the fear that overtakes your face as you remove the bullet only to find out the other half is much deeper - is to die for - to replacing a faulty pacemaker, the game will keep you on edge. You will find yourself replacing bones - healing and removing tumors - you'll do the duties of a doctor without getting the fat paycheck.

Just like a monitor, you need to keep your eye on the patient's vitals. With boxes on the top and sides, you will have to react quickly if your patient's vitals drop. When the vitals hit 0, a senior doctor will step in and finish the task. You'll have to restart the episode.

Need a wii bit of help? Grab a friend! You can bring a friend along in multiplayer mode to assist in operations. Though you can't go online and work on patients all over the world, you can upload your scores for other gamers to see.

The storyline is corny, but works good for "New Blood." The graphics are good - they are slightly sharper than "Second Opinion." The sounds are ok - the "miss" sound and rumble work better than defibrilators.

I have always been impressed with "Trauma Center," and "New Blood" is at the top of its class. It offers a challenging experience - it's T rated - for gamers but it's a rewarding ordeal. Few games make you feel like you've accomplished something after you turn the game off. "New Blood" is one of them.

I have to run - I have patients to tend to.

See you in the E.R.

The good: Rewarding experience, multiplayer mode, challenging gameplay, good graphics, corny but engaging storyline and online leaderboards

The bad: Controllers can be skittish - can't play online against other gamers - some gamers may be turned off by difficulty settings

The ugly: Retrieving the other half of the bullet as time expires and the patient's vitals were dropping simultaneously

Overall: 8.5 (out of 10) - I enjoyed "Second Opinion," and "New Blood" made me fall for the series even more. It's a great game for anyone considering a career in the medical field (I was a former nursing major) and not only offers a challenging experience, but teaches gamers about the tools of the medical trade. This is one title that deserves more recognition.


Sue Vorenberg said...

Hey MadSkillz,
Welcome to your new home - sad to see our old haunt evaporate, but excellent that you're carrying the blog forward.
Stay cool,

Mad Skillz said...

Hay SueVo ... yeah, I know. It's sad but T3CH-Fu will always live on.

Are you going to write any about video gaming at the New Mexican? I wish I could freelance video game reviews for them. I wouldn't even charge them!

If you see Nash, Lenderman, David Alire Garcia, please tell them Willie J said WASSUP.