Disproving the theory that all gamers are lazy, Extreme Gamer is having a head-to-head match up with two of the latest entries in the new fitness genre of gaming. Get prepared to sweat as EA Sports Active: More Workouts takes on Your Shape with Jenny McCarthy.
Thanks to Wii-Fit other gaming companies have tried to match its success with their own brand of fitness games. Two of the latest entries are EA Sports Active: More Workouts and Your Shape from Ubisoft. Since we have them both sitting in our office, we decided to get up and sweat a little as we put these two workout warriors in a head-to-head outing to see which fitness game provides the most bang for your buck.
EA Sports Active: More Workouts
Developed by EA Vancouver, the EA Sports Active brand has received a fair amount of praise since it launched earlier this year. Sports Active is focused on a delivering high impact workouts designed to help us "Westerners" combat our biggest issue, weight gain. To keep the existing workout-a-holiccs happy EA Sports has released EA Sports Active: More Workouts, which is exactly what it sounds like-- more workouts. This new iteration from EA Sports is designed to keep players motivated while they exercise in 35 all-new activities. So don't expect much different than the core game.
Your Shape with Jenny McCarthy
Following EA's lead, Ubisoft is trying out their formula for fitness with the Jenny McCarthy (model, actress) endorsed Your Shape. Your Shape takes a different approach than the above mentioned titles by using a motion tracking USB camera, along with the idealism of working out side-by-side your trainer (in this case Jenny). Your Shape also encourages you to use other workout helpers like a balance ball or hand weights along with game to custom fit your exercises to your needs. This fresh approach to fitness is an interesting alternative to the current batch of workout games with the added bonus of a little Jenny.
How they “Shape” Up
The set up for both workout games are a little different. Your Shape comes packaged with a little USB Camera, that is designed to sit on top of your television. The USB Camera set up is virtually instantaneous once you plug it into the USB port on your Wii (yes it has USB ports). EA Sports Active is a little different as it comes with a resistance band and a leg wrap for dropping your Wii Nunchuck into. The band needs to be tied to two Velcro twists and is used for extra tension during the exercises. EA Sports Active also has the option of using the Wii balance board if you have one available. This is totally optional so do feel like you need to go out and purchase new items to get a complete workout.
As you can tell, EA Sports Active has a little more to worry about when you are working out and Your Shape is ready to go once you have the camera positioned on your body. This actually ties into the gameplay more than you would think and the EA Sports Active and its bundled items can be a little annoying to take off and on for each workout-- and go figure each session is fairly varied from one exercise to another. This prompts you to frantically get set up for the new exercises with very little set up. The most annoying part is the tension bandages that can get all tangled up in your Wii-mote/Nunchuck. Having the band and the wire in-between the two controllers doesn’t help when you are tired and just want to get on with the workout. Obviously, it is something you get used to, but it really never stops being annoying.
In the set up stage of EA Sports Active has a fairly deep character creation then something like Wii-Fit from Nintendo. EA Sports Active is the quicker of the two to get running and only asks you a couple of questions were as Jenny gives you an impromptu quick workout. Your Shape doesn’t need to get deep into customization because it doesn’t use an in-game character, you just use yourself.
The set up in Your Shape talks you through a number of questions hosted by the real Jenny McCarthy using actual video-footage. I am not sure how “fit” Jenny McCarthy is, or what how qualifies her to be a fitness instructor, but she definitely looks in shape. After you answer a few questions Jenny will do a fitness scan on your body, which is a fairly cardio based workout to jump right into it. Before you know it, you might be already done with Jenny before you even get started. I preferred EA’s set up because it actually has some depth. However, if you want to get into the mix quickly Jenny is your girl.
Regiment Your Workout
Once you are in the game, both games have a calendar you can set for upholding regimented workouts. Your Shape lets you pick a part of the body to work on, and EA Sports Active is set up more like a personal trainer. This instantly makes EA Sports Active the best alternative if you want to hit certain goals under a time line, where as Your Shape is simply as a targeted workout partner. The most interesting part about EA’s game is that you can hit up the 6 week challenge that is set up as a tropical paradise resort in the game. Exercising on the island will make you work and play hard. This is designed for three levels of fitness and can be modified around your schedule.
EA Sports Active also takes a report of what you have been doing outside of the game. It will ask you to complete a lifestyle and nutrition survey including what you have been drinking, how much you relax, how you feel about your workouts and your effort and more. The game doesn’t overdue it in detail, yet it does dig a little deeper than expect, only to map how to proceed. Along with learning more about your body and how healthy you are, you actually start to learn a little more about nutrition and how to stay healthy. Even though I might not conform to the idea student, EA Sports Active certainly has their formula nailed, and you always have a good guess at how productive you’ve been. From counting how many calories you’re burning to helpful verbal reinforcement, this is the game you want to get down to business with to shed the pounds.
The workouts themselves have a lot of variety and range from strait, you are on the mat doing time, to more fun representations like running on screen, or being on an imaginary playing field like in a boxing ring, and even water-skiing. Jenny’s deal is more of a straight-forward affair where you are right beside a horrible digital representation of Jenny, who is doing the motions on your TV. Watching yourself in real-time do each activity is a little distracting, and, unless you’re built like Jenny, you could be a little depressed staring at yourself. I guess this could work for the opposite, you good looking narcissists.
Where we Need Improvement
An issue that plagues both games is the responsiveness. In EA Sport Active you can have some problems with the Nunchuck being unresponsive during squats, or simply not tracking faster motions as well. The on screen character is meant to recreate your movements, but it can easily fall out of synch. The issues in Your Shape comes from the camera not being able to track all your movements properly. At times it can simply lose your body motions and think you’re not moving when you are—and the opposite. Comparatively the technology behind Your Shape is a lot more advance in concept, so I’m not surprised it has a few issues now and again. When a fitness game falls out of synch it can be frustrating. However, in both games cases it works more than it doesn’t and both systems could use some refinement.
Both EA Sports Active: More Workouts and Your Shape with Jenny McCarthy can work up a good sweat, and each games approach is significantly different. When it comes down to it, EA Sports Active: More Workouts is the better overall fitness game. Sports Active is the total package from its delivery, 6-week challenge, and in game exercises. There is simply more to do and its a lot more fun. Your Shape is more of a straight-up workout tool that you can use in unisons with a personal trainer, or going to the gym. If you have goals and need to lose a certain amount of weight under a deadline, I would choose EA Sports Active. If you’re just looking for a fun workout game, both can do the job. However, I would tilt towards EA Sports Active. Bang for your Buck, EA Sports Active: More Workouts outlasts Your Shape.
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 12.01.09
- Have the option of using the balance board
- Excellent 6 week challenge
- Island activities make it feels like your working and playing hard
- Carefully designed to suit all fitness levels
- Can workout around your schedule
- Excellent fitness tracker
- In game trophies help motivate
- Tracking issues are frustrating
- Doesn’t allow for a lot of breathing time between exercises
- The need to switch it up "items" in-between exercises can be frustrating
- Jenny McCarthy starts you out in an excellent opening video
- Music more suited to high energy workouts
- More freedom to have fun without the stress of fitting a profile
- Three levels of activity (sedentary, moderate, active)
- Gives you a breakdown, a (A-D) grade and some nice vocal reassurance
- Constant tracking issues that are frustrating
- Lacks the depth of other fitness games
- Real video of jenny turns into Zombie-Wii McCarthy
- No trainer to guide your through the workouts
- Motion tracking technology still needs a bit of work
- I like Rihanna, but enough with the Umbrella track!