Woohoo! Dispatched yesterday and arrived this morning. Wasn't expecting it to be that quick with the extended strike going on. And the official European release date for Trauma Center Second Opinion is supposed to be Friday as well but, I'm not complaining. I'm glad I pre-ordered and paid for 1st class delivery with Gameplay. Saying that though, I only managed to spend 2 hours on the game this evening and I'm liking it. I will just have to come back to Mario Strikers later.
For those who have played the DS version and paid attention to the story like I have, you'll recognise the familiar script in this Wiimake right away. However, the fresh graphical presentation and controls is reason enough to play through the game again. They've also added in some original operations and new tools to make use of the Wii's unique controls too.
With the DS version, working with the operation tools is easy because you're close to the screen with the stylus but what about the Wiimote? Well in SO, selecting tools with the nun-chuk's analog stick takes some getting used to. Every direction is used to select a different tool basically and trying to choose the tools set in the diagonal directions can be a little difficult at first. Fortunately the main tools such as the scalpel and antibiotic gel are set at easier to select directions. There's a hexagonal tray of tools displayed in the bottom-left corner so you don't have to worry about memorising them but of course, doing so makes those hectic operations easier.
Making incisions and using other tools that require good accuracy is suprisingly smooth but that doesn't mean it's any easier to pull off those "Cool" ratings. Some of the tools have also been improved such as the horrid magnifying glass that didn't recognise circles in the DS version. Once you have the magnifying glass selected, you just have to press A to zoom in and out now. The drain tool is also better now that all you have to do is hold the A button down to drain away liquid substances. Perhaps the most interesting change is the way you use the forceps; you hold down the A and B buttons. Healing Touch is still activated by drawing a star but the recognition system is a bit weak.
One thing to bare in mind is make sure your Wiimote batteries aren't in the red or you could end up with tools "freezing", messing up the game controls. It's probably due to a break in signals from the Wiimote.
The New Content
Besides bringing all the operations from the original DS version of the game, fans will be glad to know there's a fair bit of new content added in. Some of the operations have been modified to bring in three new tools which obviously means there's something more to do. I've only come across the defibrillator so far which replaces the "heart massage" sequences in the DS version. This tool is used in operations where the patient's vitality will drop drastically now and then. A gauge appears on the screen and it's then up to you to push the nun-chuk and Wiimote forward towards the screen, then press the Z and B buttons together when the gauge is at the right point.
There are also some real original new operations added to this Wiimake (although few) which features the new character "Nozomi Weaver" who also possesses the Healing Hand ability. Unlike the original game, the Wiimake displays a large list of chapters that you have completed or unlocked as you play. Nozomi's "Z" side stories are unlocked after every chapter of the main story you complete. I've only gone through two of them so far but needless to say they've been fun. The first operation with Nozomi involved picking up bone fragments, rotating them then fitting them back together. You don't really rotate the Wiimote too much so you don't have to worry about having a tired wrist. You only rotate as much as the early levels of Pose Mii really.
Graphics and Sound
On the presentation side of things, the 3D graphics obviously look better than the DS counterparts. Both backgrounds and character designs still resemble their original DS versions but have been re-drawn with a cleaner look. Somehow, Angie just doesn't look right when she blushes but it seems to be a common feat in drawn Japanese media. I'm guessing Otakus must have e-mailed Atlus to add it in for that extra "Moe" factor but anyway... There's still no full voice acting but clearly they've added in some extra sound effects in such as footsteps and the closing of doors. Music is again similar but has more pop rhythm added to some of it. A bit of remix.
I can't remember how long it took me to finish the DS game but reading other reviews this Wiimake is supposed to only last around 10 hours. Well, I'll make another post about how long it takes me once I've finished the game but I won't be rushing it.
And whoever designed the game manual done a terrific job! I really like how "photos" are clipped to the character profiles and how there is a medical terms glossary and Caduceus manual. The DS game had similar content but the presentation was awfully plain... Also another rare occasion where I actually prefer the Western boxart over the Japanese one too.
It's going to be a while before I purchase another Wii game because there's nothing good coming up at the moment. Zelda:TP and Trauma Center:SO were really the only two titles I had my eye on when the Wii was just launched. Well, and Wii Sports. Next title I'm looking forward to arriving in PAL land is Dragon Quest Swords which, according to Japanese reviews, is another short 10 hour game. I don't really mind as long as it's fun but again, they should bring down the price to the mid £20s range for short games.
If Japan ends up getting enough Japanese only titles that I want to play then, I might decide to sell off my current PAL Wii and get an import one. That or hope someone will come up with a better hack solution before then. I don't want to get my Wii chipped quite just yet.