Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sweatin' To The Graphics

OK, this may come as a shock, but I'm a bit overweight.

Really? Nobody's surprised? Huh.

Anyway, when Lori and I saw EA Sports: Active 2 on sale at Wal-Mart for $25 last week, we figured what the heck, it's $25. If it doesn't work, at least we'll have a nifty strap-on heart monitor to show for it. So later that week, I finally got around to setting up a workout program, putting on the three motion sensors (one for each arm and one for your right thigh) and fired it up.

Oh, man. I was almost dead by the end of the first workout.

The game provides some specific workout programs, or you can custom-build your own. I went with the 9-week strength builder at first (have since gone with custom workouts for a reason I'll go into later), and I gotta say, I'm impressed. Of course, even Wii Fit has the ability to make one sweat, but the difference here is fun. I was sweating, I was sore, and I was having a good time in the process. The workouts are predictable but move quickly, and the activities (workout games such as basketball, boxing, etc) are varied enough to not get repetitive quickly (unlike Wii Fit Plus's boxing program, which I could practically do blindfolded by the time I gave up on that game).

Another big selling point is that the game doesn't force you to be humiliated daily by a piece of plastic. Weighing yourself daily is the only way to get a mark for your progress in Wii Fit; that means every time you workout, you stand on the Wii Fit board, it tells you you're fat, you eventually get discouraged at your lack of progress, and you give up. Active, however, pretty much ignores that part. You can enter your weight on a weekly basis, if you choose. You can also ignore it completely, and still get credit for actually using the product.

Custom workouts are another plus. Yes, this is technically possible in Fit Plus, but it seems to work better in Active 2, at least for me. As I said earlier, I went to building a custom workout after trying the strength building program. Mostly it was because the program wants me to run and jump; two things I'm not necessarily allowed to do since I live on the second floor of an apartment building (and my neighbors wouldn't appreciate a lot of thumping on their ceiling). The variety is very nice, and the fact that you can use music stored on your hard drive (for PS3 and Xbox 360 users) is a big plus... especially when you have hard metal playing during warm-up and cool-down workouts; it just feels MORE AWESOME.

So as a whole, I like what I see. I'm only a little over a week in, so of course this could just be the honeymoon phase, but I can see myself sticking to this more than Wii Fit, partially because we lost our board, and partially because I don't remember enjoying myself as much with that game.

Score: B+. Only way this could've been good enough for an A would be if it supported the PS Move for PS3 users; the game does support the Kinect for those Xbox fans out there (again, uncertain on the Wii version's features).

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