Review: Surgeon Simulator 2013

Surgeon Simulator 2012 • PC • Available now

“Doctor to surgery, we urgently need a doctor to surg… OH MY GOD WHAT HAS HE DONE! It’s too late, CALL THE POLICE! Restrain him!”

I fear I’ll never become a surgeon. This may be a wise move considering I’d quite happily perform heart surgeries with hammers, kidney transplants in the back of an ambulance, and brain transplants… well, the fact that I’d even attempt them may be cause for some concern amongst my peers. Now, however, I won’t have to risk a malpractice suit and can instead live in a fabulous world of pretend with Surgeon Simulator 2013.

As you may be able to tell, this isn’t your usual sim-game. With it’s light tone and sardonic humour, it’s more QWOP for your hand than a hardcore authentic experience – Train Simulator 2013 this is not. You control the Dr. Nigel Burke’s left arm and fingers (the A, W, E, R and Space keys) as you attempt to perform surgery on your unfortunate patient. And boy is it difficult. Twisting your arm to pick up a drill or knife takes a bit of finesse and reaching inside the body to pick up organs is ridiculously difficult.

So the controls are fiddly and frustrating and nothing at all like real life but that’s the point; being a surgeon in a game could be quite easy but they’ve purposely made the controls as obtuse as possible. SS 2013 knows it’s a ridiculous game, and while graphical glitches and unpredictable physics can be slightly annoying, the game combats this very well with its dark and humourous tone.

This can either lead to you feeling more accomplished that  you’ve overcome great difficulty (and your sodding wristwatch), or you ending up laughing at the screen, the scenario and the unfortunate situation where the patients lung has been so viciously ripped out that knocked the transplant heart off the back of the ambulance while simultaneously stabbing yourself with morphine which blurs your vision, while the chainsaw you used to cut the ribcage open has fallen in the cavity causing blood to pour everywhere. This has happened to me on countless occasions.

Of course, you may just end up even more frustrated, and I guess you have your right to be – digit control and patience are the bread and butter here and if it’s not your cup of tea you’re not going to find anything else in the game of interest. Even if you’re really having a great time like I was, there’s not too much past two or three hours of playtime and seven operations (and the Team Fortress 2 content) barring hunting your office desk for floppy disks and other Easter eggs. But then the price tag more than covers that for me – I got a great deal of enjoyment out of the money I spent but your mileage may vary.

Now I must leave you though – Bob is bleeding out and this laser won’t cut the brain stem all by itself. Well, it might actually. I did drop it next to power drill that’s currently rotation on the table…

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