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The Week Ahead - 10/08/07

Feature: And you thought last week was bad?

Okay, so let's not get too down-hearted, we've had a paucity of good releases over the last couple of weeks but if you think back the summer's not been too bad (apart from the weather), think Forza 2, The Darkness, Resident Evil 4 (Wii Edition) not to mention the compulsive charms of Picross. Plus when BioShock is released on August 24 this draught will seem like a distant memory.

In short, the only thing worth talking about is Trauma Centre: Second Opinion on Wii. And while it's probably one of those games you've chalked up as a 'maybe' we can't help but recommend it, if only for the stunning looking anime nurses and exclamation riddled dialogue.

The complete list of games released in the UK this week (10/08/07):

  • Combat Mission: Shock Force, PC, Paradox
  • Top Spin 2, PC, 2K Games
  • Super Fruitfall, PS2/PSP/DS
  • Trauma Centre: Second Opinion, Wii, Nintendo
  • Peripherals: Madcatz PS3 Thumb Pad Keyboard
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Trauma Centre: Second Opinion (Wii)

Considering there's only one game of note this week we thought we'd give it an extended preview. Trauma Centre: Second Opinion is oh so much more than a sequel to the brilliant, if occasionally frustrating, Under the Knife on DS. The totally revamped engine and visuals mean that it feels like a fresh game and because there are many more operation types, surgical instruments and another playable character it feels, if you'll forgive the term, properly fleshed out.

Once again you follow the career of a young surgeon, Doctor Derek Stiles, as he moves from a local surgery to a global medical organisation in a flamboyant plot which touches on terrorism, biological warfare and euthanasia. This is certainly not the kind of game for anyone with anxiety issues; even more so when you get into the operating theatre which delivers a tense, dramatic and often unpredictable experience.

This is largely down to the Wii controls which have been implemented superbly allowing you to wield surgical instruments with minute precision. From lasering abnormal growths to twisting shards of bone around there's a visceral thrill to Second Opinion that's simply not available in any other game on the market. You can even revive patients by applying defibrillator pads, pressing the triggers and jump starting the heart.

There's variety here too, with operations to re-fix bones, battle viruses, control throat infections, remove shards of glass even relieve the pain of a terminally ill child. The mission to defuse a terrorist bomb (reprised from the DS version) even makes it in. Fortunately Second Opinion does allow you to change the difficulty setting before each mission so it doesn't suffer so much from the awful difficulty spikes of its forbear.

From what we've played to date Second Opinion is definitely an acquired taste, but those who enjoyed the DS iteration will find this to be deep, unusual and utterly absorbing experience.

Peripherals: Madcatz Thumb Pad Keyboard (PS3)

This is a very useful and uncomplicated keypad for those who prefer to do their web-browsing and chat in the living room without the need for balancing a keyboard on the lap. With a 61 key QWERTY keypad, an ergonomic clip-on design and enhanced in-game messaging functions this is hard to fault for the price. You can get the Madcatz Thumb Pad keyboard from Play.com for £17.99.

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