There was a time when games that had the word ‘simulator’ in the title were all about high learning curves and realism. Take the Flight Simulator series for example. Once you had mastered it you could most likely fly a real plane (Don’t try though, seriously) and it actually felt like more of a simulation than a game. However something has changed, and now titles with the word simulator in them mean something very different. Take Goat Simulator for example, what was that game even about? It certainly didn’t teach you anything about goats or how to herd them, it was just a crazy goat blowing things up. Now we have Surgeon Simulator: The Anniversary Edition, and it seems things just got a little crazier.
As the name suggests the game is all about performing surgeries. I am no doctor but performing a surgery sounds like an incredibly complicated thing to do, that’s why you have to go to medical school for years I guess. So what happens if you skipped medical school and decided to pick up a hacksaw and perform an open heart surgery? Well, no need to try and imagine because that’s what Surgeon Simulator is for. Things get covered in blood very quickly as you try to perform a range of surgery techniques, such as a brain transplant and even teeth transplants. I kid you not. You control one arm while performing the surgeries, because doctors are busy people and their other hand is most likely shopping on amazon. As you can imagine this makes things a little more difficult while you control the doctor’s forefingers and thumb with one button and the remaining three fingers with the other.
Coordinating the arm and fingers to move and hold things is most likely harder than the moon landing was. Trying to grip a saw and rip through some ribs, while using the motion controls on the Dualshock 4, is so difficult that it quickly becomes apparent that this game doesn’t take itself very serious. Cracking ribs and cutting main arteries is all part of the fun. It’s the kind of game you want to throw on for a mindless ten minutes of stress relief in the form of hacking some poor guy open. It does have its challenges though, as you start cutting away your patient will lose blood. If they lose too much blood they obviously die and that’s game over for you.
Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition has a few extra modes such as the eye surgeries, but the core game is what many players may have seen on the PC and iOS devices a few years back. I am happy that it has made the jump to the PS4 but it does feel like the controls were better suited for a keyboard and mouse to give you more precision. One of the highlight’s in the game is just messing things up on the surgeons desk and trying to call people or removing floppy discs from the retro 80’s PC.
There are a few Easter Eggs hidden all over the table and there is even talk of a two player mode that will let a buddy control the other arm during surgery, which sounds chaotic. These little additions help give the game a slightly longer play time but this is still very much a short-lived experience. You will certainly get a laugh or two out of it and we certainly had fun playing it taking turns to hack up our poor victim…I mean patient – as you can see in our let’s play video below.
The asking price may be a bit steep so perhaps wait for a sale. However if gory mini games and smashing through rib cages sounds like fun to you then pick this up. Just be warned that the controls can be very frustrating to the point that you might want to perform a lobotomy on yourself after a while, but with that said it can still be fun.