Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lifesigns: Surgical Unit first impressions

So, for the first review of the year, I figured I'd get around to a game that I've been playing for the DS.
Okay, so this is the second game in a series that follows the lead of Trauma Center. On a completely different note, it was kinda tough to find the American cover, because Wikipedia has the European cover and as such, that's the one that comes up first on Google. Back on topic: Lifesigns 2: Surgical Unit is the second game in the Lifesigns series, the first of which was never released outside Japan. Before the inevitable arguments about which is a ripoff start, I will refer to Wikipedia, which states the first game came out at the end of 2004, several months before the original Trauma Center did.
Damn, games that came out in the last generation of console are almost ten years old. Thinking about that makes ME feel old. Anyways, the game is pretty good, although if it'd been released alongside its prequel back in 2005 instead of in 2007 then it probably would have fared better critically. On the one hand, I like the puzzle solving and other things that you can do in the hospital, and the art it intricately detailed. On the one hand, the gameplay tends to aggravate me but on the other hand, it's the kind of aggravation that makes me want to complete the game. I don't know if I'll ever finish it because I've got a gigantic backlog by now of DS games alone, but I'll try. I never thought I'd finish Chinatown Wars either.
Anyways, the characters are pretty cool and the gameplay is okay. I don't say "Okay" in the "below average" sense, it's just I can't say much about it. Depending on what you like, you could like it or hate it. The main difference from Trauma Center is that the surgery graphics are manga drawings instead of real-time 3D polygons. Sometimes you can't really tell what you're supposed to do during the medical exam stages, but on the upside, there's no way you can screw that up as far as I can tell. I'm on the ropes as to whether I like this game or not, it's a handful of great ideas rolled into one game, and I can't tell if it executed it right. There are a bunch of strange minigames in it as well that are a little out of place. The game is strange, I'll give it that. It's the kind of strange that would normally keep my interest if I didn't have a bunch of other games to play as well. I guess I'll have to tag-team it the way I did with Ace Attorney and The World Ends With You so I can keep my interest up. I like it, but I'm not sure how much I like it. For now I'm gonna have to leave you with that.