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Review: EA Sports Active 2 (Kinect)

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Interesting timing to get a review copy sent through for EA’s Sport Active 2 for Kinect. No doubt the peak time people want to tone up and shed a few pounds!

My girlfriend, who’s a fitness instructor, is often trying to drag me to the gym so showed curious interest in this home fitness solution for Kinect.

The amazing success of Wii Fit led to many publishers following suite with their own fitness games. The original EA Sports Active was a great alternative to Wii Fit, though there is interest to see if the sequel can take full advantage of Kinect’s full body motion sensing.

So the game opens with brief configuration, setting your height, weight and the like, to create your own in-game character. You can then take part in the three-part, nine week program or customise your own regime using more than 70 unique exercises.

There’s a mix of traditional toning and cardio exercises such as squats, lunges and bicep curls along with fun fitness activities such as mountain biking, dodge ball and boxing. Starting with some basic warm up routines, all seems fairly easy to start with but on attempting some of the more rigorous workouts you then see how games such as Sports Active 2 can get the heart pumping and with consistent usage could really benefit your health for the better.

Personally I get bored very easily while working out and in real life would prefer to play football over visiting a gym. Being my real first experience playing home fitness games I was pleasantly entertained and even on running exercises my interest was held with checkpoints and variation in running styles. Then there’s the exercises which are more “game like” such as Dodgeball, Boxing and Mountain Biking, all good fun and great for working out your entire body and getting a sweat on.

Included with the game are some resistance bands and a Heart Rate Monitor. The Heart Rate Monitor is fastened to your left arm, synchronised with your Xbox 360 over wireless, then gives what seems to be accurate feedback of your heart’s current beats per minute. While playing, my heart was resting at about 65-75 BPM and as high as 150 BPM on running exercises.

So far you’d be thinking this all sounds awesome and could possibly be the great fitness game of all time, though sadly there’s a few issues.

First up, the more annoying parts of the game. The menus can be very hard to navigate via Kinect, likely because the hit areas are quite small, so require you to hold your hand for 4 seconds with pinpoint precision, so it’s often easier to pick up a joypad and navigate the menus. We know other Kinect games don’t have such issues navigating menus, so this comes as a major oversight in game testing from EA.

Other issues persist such as the game often bringing up the pause menu for no obvious reason which can be very frustrating. Then the game doesn’t seem to work very well with any floor based activities. I would assume the position, as instructed and the game seems to lose track of me. Then when in position the game wouldn’t be able to track my movements that accurately, though it’s unfair to blame the game direct as I’m not 100% sure if this issue is more related to the Kinect sensor and its viewing angle.

One thing my girlfriend picked up on, was that the game didn’t seem to report whether my technique was correct. Unlike Ubisoft’s Your Shape, there doesn’t seem to be any real-time feedback, so my girlfriend’s concern was that people could be putting unnecessary strain some muscle groups.

These issues aside the game is fun, varied and best of all felt like a full body workout. If EA can address some of these issues seen in this release and take better advantage of Kinect, I truly believe the fitness DVD could become a thing of the past! For now, if you’re keen to exercise at home and can afford this higher priced title then EA Sports Active is a great purchase.

Platforms: Xbox 360 (Kinect), PlayStation 3 & Wii
Version Reviewed: Xbox 360 (Kinect)
Release Date: Out Now

Review Overview: “A few minor issues hamper what could of been THE premier fitness game for Kinect. Still, if you’re looking for a home fitness game to get you in shape this could be an essential purchase.”

Overall Score: 7/10

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am and is filed under General Gaming, Reviews, Xbox 360. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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