Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition Review: Scalpel
Surgeon Simulator 2013 remains one of the most absurdly fantastic piece of joke software ever created, and it's just as fun to watch as it is to play. The hilarity stems from attempting to carefully perform meticulous operations like a heart transplant or the removal of teeth while failing terribly most of the time. While the control scheme was deliberately faulty, it still allowed skilled players to actually perform most of these tasks with enough practice. I'm not sure if that's the case with the Anniversary Edition on the PlayStation 4.
The Anniversary Edition packs in all the previously released content, so you'll be performing operations while in the back of an ambulance, while running down a hallway and the patient is on a trolley, or in zero gravity. You'll also be able to partake in operations on the brain, eye and even some teeth removal. It really is the complete package.
But the biggest problem actually stems from the controls. What was once hilariously difficult, yet still achievable becomes nearly impossible in the PS4 version. First and foremost, you now lose the ability to control all your fingers individually. You now control two at the time, index and pinky, and middle and ring. You can also switch between having the PS4 controller sense the rotation of your arm through its gyro sensors, or with the second analog stick, but neither felt like it was in any way better than the other.
You might be thinking "But that's the point of the game." And while I agree that for the most part, yes it is funny to watch someone struggle their way through brain removal, it becomes less so when the controls just aren't as natural as they felt on a mouse and keyboard.
Anniversary Edition's saving grace is the inclusion of local co-op surgeries. If there is fun to be had, despite the bad controls, it's here. Now, there are two hands controlling the chaos that ensues, so one person can attempt to carefully hammer away at the patient's ribs, while the other reaches in and tries to hack it out of him. Or perhaps you can have a challenge such as which tool can break through the patient's skull quicker?
The co-op actually delivers a sort of emergent gaming experience where the rules are up to the players. They can set their own goals and compete with one another by trying to use various tools to accomplish the same thing, or they can opt for a more co-op experience and take turns in performing each step of the operation. There is no structure that dictates this which makes the open ended nature of co-op so great.
I'd like to say that the co-op more than makes up for the terrible controls with the DualShock 4, but that might be stretching it. However, if you do have a few buddies who wouldn't mind splitting the cost of the game with you, only to dive into the co-op and let the hilarity and chaos ensue, that wouldn't be a bad idea at all.