A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this medical simulation game presents the body and problems with it in a graphic and honest manner. This isn't a good choice for kids who are squeamish around blood because it's full of it. It can also be disturbing when you injure a patient. Using a Wii controller, players simulate the skills required to be a good doctor. The game is tasteful and respectful, but parents should know that it isn't 100 percent realistic. Ultimately, it's a timed puzzle game.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
TRAUMA CENTER: SECOND OPINION casts the player in the role of a hotshot young surgeon out to save lives in a soap opera world of Japanese anime -- think General Hospital crossed with House. The Wii nunchuk thumbstick is used to choose instruments, while the remote acts as a scalpel, syringe, and even a needle that lets you stitch a wound closed. Trauma Center: Second Opinion is a surgical game, so it's bloody and features the gooey inside of the body, including things like tumors and broken bones. While operating, you are constantly aware of the beeping heart monitor, which can be very nerve-wracking.
Is it any good?
The game is tasteful and respectful of the human body. One of the main recurring themes involves nurses scolding our hero for being too callous or not paying attention. Young players will learn a lot about anatomy and basic surgical procedure. Memorization of steps is the key to keeping patients alive on the table during long, grueling surgeries late in the game.
But there's enough fantasy and even science fiction at hand here to make the game feel like ER crossed with the board game Operation, from Milton Bradley. While the setting is not realistic, the still pictures and anime characters are well done. It's all very clever and satisfying, it gives a "futuristic doctor" feeling that's a thrill, and one that is unique in gaming. It makes you wonder if, one day, real surgery will be performed remotely like this.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the medical problems that can affect the human body and the procedures and skills required to fix it. Patching patients up and earning the praise of the nursing staff can make players proud of what they have accomplished. Do you think this is how doctors feel? Does this game make you want to be a doctor or nurse?
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