Title: Surgeon Simulator: A&E Anniversary Edition
System(s): PS4 (Also on PC, iOS, and Android)
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Publisher (Developer): Bossa Studios (Bossa Studios)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Blood and Violence
I had good intentions. The best, to be exact. I wanted to save lives. These people needed transplants, and by God, I’m going to jam those organs into them.
So how was I supposed to know that prying out both the large and small intestines with the backside of a hammer was a bad thing? I mean, they just weren’t coming out! It seemed like a good idea at the time!
The doctor is in.
Surgeon Simulator: A&E Edition is a surgeon simulator in the loosest sense. You may be given a goal, like replace a heart or eyes, but will go about it in the most rudimentary way. The patient needs a new brain? Well, forget about everything else. Do whatever you have to in order to get inside his head and make the switch. Need new kidneys? It’s okay if the stomach, liver, and intestines are thrown away in the process.
This time, the alien surgery isn’t the icing on the cake. No, it’s extra surgeries that involve operating on the move, with Bob on a speeding gurney, or replacing Bob’s eyes and teeth. It really helps extend Surgeon Simulator‘s lifespan, since the original felt a bit sparce with only four surgeries.
Of course, the awkward controls are what really make Surgeon Simulator magic. Players can control the pointer finger and thumb with one button, the pointer, ring and pinky fingers with another, and make the arm descend with another. Think of it as performing surgery with a grabbing machine’s claw. It’s possible, but takes practice. Especially since foul moves can make the patient bleed out. I can’t find the words to describe the jubilation that comes from successfully performing a transplant for the first time, and the satisfaction gained from doing it again, only faster and cleaner.
I have but one Surgeon Simulator lament. I’ve played both the original PC iteration and the PS4 port, and found that it’s harder to discern the visual cues in the console edition. Let me use the kidney transplant I mentioned in the introduction as an example. To remove the large and small intestines, several small inscisions must be made with a scalpel alone precise areas. These seemed more visible in the PC edition.
With the PS4 version I was only able to tell where to cut by recalling my prior experience with the PC surgery. These accentuated areas are more difficult to see. Given how difficult it is to succeed in Surgeon Simulator, you can understand how much more trouble is caused when a player isn’t even sure of where to strike.
There were times when I wondered if this obfuscation was intentional. That’s because Surgeon Simulator: A&E Anniversary Edition‘s controls feel easier on the PS4. I had much less difficulty judging distances, grabbing tools, and positioning the hand. I’d even encourage the use of motion controls to determine positioning, because the precision is perfect. It feels like Bossa Studios gave PS4 players an edge with the DualShock 4 controls.
I just wish the cooperative multiplayer had been working prior to writing this review. The ability to have a second player join in, controlling the left hand, seems like it would provide an invaluable local experience. This element will be added in an update soon, but it’s a shame it wasn’t available at launch considering it’s the one mode that sets the PS4 version apart from all others.
Surgeon Simulator: A&E Anniversary Edition was a runaway success on PCs because it let people have fun. We’ve seen more serious surgery simulations, like Trauma Center, which more or less stick to details and offer challenging doses of realism. The magic of Surgeon Simulator is that it allows players to cope with what is normally an excruciating ordeal in the silliest and most entertaining day. It’s like Bossa Studios has said, “Here. Be Doctor Nick Riviera for a day.” There’s a limitless amount of replay value, and even when you fail, you’ll enjoy the experience. Everyone with a PS4 should take some time to save (or destroy) lives with Surgeon Simulator: A&E Anniversary Edition.
Site [Surgeon Simulator]