At this point in the review, I’d normally moan about how badly the Wii controls have been implemented, but for once I can’t find much cause for complaint. The Wii remote actually makes a fairly precise and speedy surgical instrument, and one of the real pleasures of the game is the way in which Atlus has managed to implement every tool from the forceps (pinched by pressing the A button and B trigger together) to the fluid drain (hold in place and press A to suck) in such a neat and intuitive fashion. In fact, having the tool selection on the nunchuck stick actually makes the game slightly easier, enabling you to switch between tools with a new rapidity, even if it does take a while before you get the hang of picking the right one.
Plus the new platform has even given the developer space to add a few more tasty morsels to the mix, like the handy defibrillators used in a couple of operations, engaged by thrusting the remote and nunchuck forward and pressing the B and Z triggers together. Admittedly the game falters slightly when the controls need you to move objects in and out of the screen, but for the most part this is a rare case of the Wii hardware actually living up to its original promise.
And the basic game mechanics work equally well. Each operation is a relatively short but surprisingly tense affair, as you try to complete each stage of the operation without making a mistake, while giving the patient the occasional shot to keep his vital signs from falling to zero. The operations begin with simple tutorials but grow steadily more complex, and after an hour or so you’ll note that you’re becoming slicker and more practiced with the basics of slicing, removing and suture. Yet each operation still seems filled with a palpable sense of risk and urgency. Sure, it’s irritating that a failure will mean you have to repeat the whole procedure again from the start, but somehow, as the music swells and the panic signals ring out, you can’t help feeling that – dammit – there’s a man’s life at stake!