Tech News on G4
Surgeon Simulator: A&E cuts like a knife
Sept 8, 2014
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
The world is full of some pretty demented people, so it really should come as little surprise that a game like Surgeon Simulator exists. What started out as something of a joke has grown into a fully-fledged console release on Playstation 4, but you should take heed before snapping on the latex gloves.
Surgeon Simulator was originally released in 2013 as a PC game, eventually moving to smartphones and tablets. Following some positive buzz and a slew of shining reviews, the game was ported over to PS4 in the form of Surgeon Simulator A&E (which confusingly stands for Anniversary Edition).
You can probably guess what the game is about based on its title, but you should be well aware going in that developer Bossa Studios isn't aiming for an ultra-realistic experience - far from it, in fact.
As the game's protagonist (and I use that term loosely), you're tasked with performing various operations on what could be described as the unluckiest patient in the universe.
Your first hint at how ludicrous the game is comes during the menu screen, where you're first able to take control the surgeon's hand as he sits at a desk. Simply picking up a telephone receiver as the phone begins to ring becomes a virtually impossible task, and simply sifting through the menu even takes some concentration.
You're quickly whisked away to an operating room, where you'll view your anaesthetized patient. Beyond the title of the "level" - "heart transplant" - you're given zero instructions on what to do.
The controls are absolutely atrocious, and this was clearly a very conscious decision by the developers. No matter how steady your hand is, the odds are stacked against you in every way imaginable.
It's all about trial and error as you hack, slash, and smash your way through the chest cavity and past numerous internal organs as you attempt to extract the heart and literally throw in the new one. You have numerous tools at your disposal, as well as all sorts of random objects that serve no purpose beyond simply getting in your way.
You can move the hand using the analog stick or with motion controls, but deciding between the two is essentially choosing between the lesser of two evils, regardless of what you opt for.
Beyond the controls themselves, there are numerous glitches, most of which involve objects getting hung up on parts of the environment. Again, there may be claims that these glitches were left in on purpose in order to add to the game's "charm," but regardless if they were or not, these only make the game more annoying.
The problem with Surgeon Simulator A&E is that the game doesn't make up for its insane degree of difficulty with an otherwise fun or funny experience. I chuckled a few times as I pointed a laser at a patient's face or accidentally lobbed organs on the floor, but that was about it. The patient has a very limited blood supply, so once you start jabbing at arteries with a scalpel or pounding at lungs with a hammer in frustration, it'll be a few seconds at most before you're forced to restart.
Once I put on my surgeon hat (surgeon's wear hats, right?) and made a concerted effort to actually complete levels, I often became enraged, as one miniscule error would result in five minutes of pinpoint accuracy going to waste.
Only one level is unlocked at a time, so it's not like you can hop to another surgery once you get bored and/or frustrated by another one, either.
There isn't a lot of replayability once (/if) you ever do make it through all the surgeries. The PS4 version includes a new co-op mode, although that was being added via a free post-release patch, and wasn't available as of the writing of this review.
There are far better options available if you want to play a game with a ludicrous premise. Heck, you can play QWOP or even its lesser-known sequel GIRP for free at any time, and those are legitimately funny experiences. And if you really want to laugh at a hapless surgeon, watch reruns of The Simpsons that feature Dr. Nick.
Surgeon Simulator: A&E
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