Of course, as the game goes on it might risk growing stale and formulaic, but Trauma Center sidesteps this neatly by setting the operations within a wider, ongoing plot. After several tricky operations your hero, novice surgeon Derek Stiles, discovers that he has a special abilitiy known in surgical circles as ‘the healing touch.’ Sequestered out to an elite international medical taskforce, it’s not long before he faces the diabolical threat of ‘medical terrorism’ and a series of man-made diseases known as GUILT. These devilish little beggars continually introduce new methods, new problems and new challenges, not least because – unlike a busted heart valve or a big glass splinter – they are able to move and replicate.
It’s all done in the best anime tradition of cheesy, clichéd characters, overblown dialogue and over-egged plot twists and reversals, but it’s enjoyable and engaging nonetheless. After a while, the game’s alternation between operation and cut-scene makes perfect sense: after each cut-scene you’re intrigued by what the next operation might hold, but once the operation is over you can’t help but wonder where the storyline is going next. After all, how many other games tackle euthanasia or feature a politician who’s willing to die if his death can help save others.
Were this just a reworking of the handheld version all this worryingly addictive nonsense might mean a game you can burn your way through in an afternoon – something that Under the Knife avoided only by some truly hideous difficulty spikes. However, Second Opinion is more than just a port with enhanced graphics. Improved cartoon visuals, the subtle use of 3D objects and a bigger, brighter bolder look make the game a better fit for the big screen, but the real draw here is the comprehensive reworking of many of the existing chapters – including an entirely revamped chapter 6 – and the addition of a second playable character with her own narrative arc.