I loved the Trauma Center series from Atlus. It was over-the-top dramatic and played fast and loose with real medical procedures, but games were amazing fun. I miss them, so much so that Mediatonic's stupid parody, now on its third instalment, feels good to me, even if kicks off with me operating on a pug and goes downhill from there.
I know what you're thinking. "Of course it goes downhill from there. Once you've operated on a genetically-engineered pug crushed by a falling monitor, where else can you go but down?" OK, you probablyweren't thinking that. If you were, you'd be Amateur Surgeon 3's biggest fan, and this review would mean nothing to you.
But you're still reading, so you're probably wondering what the deal is. The deal is you're a surgeon that doesn't play by the rules, likely because you don't have a valid medical licence. You're also a woman (news to some of you) named Ophelia Payne (hahahah..no), rookie under the care of the original Amateur Surgeon.
Under his guidance you'll perform more than 20 different surgical procedures, from removing a wide assortment of shivs from an alleged prison guard, to operating on a mutant bear with a chainsaw.
It's sounds glorious, and to an extent it is. That extent has nothing to do with the game's sense of humour. The jokes are either tired or so outrageous they come across as trying way too hard. It's downright goofy, and plenty gruesome to boot.
The glory lies in the gameplay proper. Precision controls and tension take centre stage once you're in front of the operating table. It doesn't matter that you're using a pizza cutter to open bodies, an office stapler to close wounds and a zippo to cauterise — the gameplay trumps the humour, rendering it even more forgettable than it already was.
Amateur Surgeon 3 also marks the first free-to-play instalment of the game. That's good news for folks who've never had a chance, but not-so-good for medical mini-game-craving fans who just want to burn through case-after-case. Blood packs, required to operate, are on a replenishing timer, meaning there's an arbitrary wait (unless you want to pay). The game's tag team feature, in which an NPC swoops in and uses a special power to aid your surgery, cost a ton of in-game currency (you could always buy some more), and once acquired also work on a refresh timer. Minor annoyances, but annoyances nonetheless.
When I am playing Amateur Surgeon 3, I'm really playing a new game in the Trauma Center series. It's actually rather pathetic on my part. It's as if Trauma Center dumped me, and I'm only dating Amateur Surgeon because it has the same colour hair. I know it's nowhere as good as what I had, but it scratches the itch.
Amateur Surgeon 3
Genre: Mini-Game Medical Developer: Mediatonic Platform: iOS Price: Free
Amateur Surgeon 3 [iTunes]