Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2

Resident Evil 5 (coming to PS3 and Xbox 360) isn't the only game going to Africa. Atlus' upcoming DS sequel, Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 also takes place in the dangerous, perhaps misunderstood, continent, where landmine injuries, plagues and gunshot wounds are all the rage. Once again, you step into the scrubs of Dr. Derek Stiles, the master surgeon with the powerful healing touch. With the gorgeous Nurse Angie by his side, he does his best to rescue people from all sorts of calamities in what should be one of the DS' best games this year.

Ok, so you're in Africa and up to your stethoscope in patients, but the reason for which remains a mystery. All we know is Stiles has set up shop in a tent, located in the Republic of Costigar, and there's all sorts of horrible things happening to people. Not only will you deal with the aforementioned gunshot and landmine injuries, but also tumors, fractures and lacerations, possibly caused by well armed guerilla fighters. You should also expect shenanigans along the way, including doctor slip-ups and other serious issues.

If you played the original, you'll feel right at home with this Trauma Center sequel, as Atlus hasn't changed the formula. You'll still select from a handful of familiar instruments (scalpel, laser, drain, antibiotic gel and gauze) to complete your operation. From there, you'll drag the stylus across the touch screen to complete the action, so if you need to make a cut, you'll trace a dotted line. To apply gel, you'll quickly rub the stylus over a wound, and to apply gauze, you'll press down onto the wound and then drag the stylus across it. It's a very user-friendly system and one even newcomers should quickly adapt to, especially the Healing Touch, which requires you to draw a star on a patient in order to cure their ailments.

Although we know little about the story, we appreciate the developers dealing with such intense subject matter. Working in a hospital seems crazy, but doing so in war-torn Africa will be even more intense. We're curious what sorts of characters will appear in the story (supposedly, Stiles works with an inexperienced recruit named Adel Tulba) and the scenarios that'll pop up. Furthermore, we expect lots of anti-war dialogue.

Visually, Under the Knife 2 has elements of both its DS prequel and the Wii games, incorporating more detail and snazzy special effects. Characters still possess the same anime style appearance, but the patients (including their slimy insides) have more detail and pop off the DS touch screen.

It remains to be seen, however, if Dr. Stiles will need to dodge bullets. We'd like to see some animal missions where he needs to patch up lions and elephants, but doubt Atlus was that imaginative when designing the game. No matter. Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 looks like fun, and we can't wait to make that first incision.