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The great thing about the Nintendo DS is that while it’s a hand-held system, it’s got enough power to be a decent standard system, too — along with a lot of great games for the system. One of the trends I’ve been seeing with the DS in particular are story-games that are popular on the Japanese market that’ve been coming over here. The Ace Attorney games are a good example, as are the two Trauma Center games.
The game play for Trauma Center: Under The Knife 2 makes great use of the DS’ touch-screen capabilities. In playing through the game, there were only a few times where I ended up touching what I thought was the right area, to have it be just slightly outside — often a trouble in these games (and touch screens in general — I have very bad luck at getting ATMs to accept my choices on the first pass). The gameplay is intuitive and, above all, fun.
The story, however, doesn’t really jell or, well, even make much sense — apparently there’s a medical terrorist group with a super virus, GUILT (which, well, the textual references to being infected with GUILT and suchlike made me a little interested if the subtext was intended), and, um, it makes people sick? And you have to cure it? And there’s a whole lot of yakking about it between letting you play the levels? Oddly enough — the ease of gameplay ended up hindering my enjoyment slightly; the controls were so easy to pick up I didn’t bother reading the manual until I’d beat the game… where I found that I could have skipped all the blah blah blah with the Select button. Oops.
Luckily, nonsensical stories and cut scenes that go on too long aren’t a rarity in video games (wait… Luckily?); so folks are pretty much used to hitting the “A” button over and over and over while the characters natter on and don’t let that get in the way of enjoying an otherwise fun, engaging game. While not quite as well-made (and seemingly shorter, gameplay-wise) than the similar story-based game Professor Layton and the Curious Village (with less chatting AND a better story as well!), it’s still a good game with a creative method to the standard structure of levels capped by mini-bosses until the end. Very enjoyable, and I’d be interested to play any others in the series — I’d definitely recommend checking it out, particularly if you miss the old Life & Death series for the PC.