Five plus years ago the mere thought of a “fitness” game being put out on consoles would probably sound ridiculous. However with hardware like the Wii Balance Board and the Microsoft Kinect (just to name a few) fitness based video games and a huge push in the United States for a fitter society the genre has really started to pick up steam. One of the leading brands is EA Sports Active which is back for its second installment, first for the Playstation 3. So does EA have a game that is both fun and driving you to hit your New Years resolution in 2011? Read our full review to find out.
So let’s first talk about setting up your fitness experience. First off EA Sports Active 2 does not use the Playstation Eye camera, so don’t expect this to work like a Kinect game for the Xbox 360. Instead EA has designed a three tier system to track your workout with two arm straps and one leg strap that need to be secured very tight to keep on during the actual exercising. An area of concern is the sustainability of these strapped censors as my first review unit (which was pre-release version) did not last more then two weeks. My retail unit which I received after the pre-release version has lasted a good three weeks with no issues.
Once you get all of the censors synched to your PS3 you will be ready to take on the world of EA Sports Active 2. My review period for this review was around 3 weeks with about 4-5 days a week of sessions with the game. So I think by this point in time I have a pretty good idea of the sustainability of the fitness program. EA Sports Active 2 does a great job more then anything of keeping a varied approach to the daily grind of working out. A lot of the activities manage to make the stress on your body a little more bearable by making the experience pretty enjoyable.
The game itself does a pretty good job of tracking progress and goals that you might have for yourself. EA has also put together an online community that you can work with to help keep you motivated with the EA Sports 2 program. The fitness experience is not without its issues. First off I was not a huge fan with having three sensors on while trying to work out, especially with how tight the sensors have to be put on to keep them from coming loose while working out.
In order for the sensors to pick up your workout correctly you really have to be honest with yourself to ensure you don’t cheat yourself through exercises which is possible to do. There are some issues as well throughout the experience with the game not picking up your motions because you’re not doing the exercise the same way as the trainer. These are small issues that do hinder the experience even only slightly, but these are the sort of things that can stop you from completing goals within an exercise program.
Visually this is a pretty barebones exercise game in the sense that the development went for a more minimalist approach to keep you focused on your workout. The demonstrations of how to complete exercises is well constructed and makes following the instruction as easy as possible. The visuals aren’t vital to the overall experience but manage to work.
I hate working out. Ask my wife, I have a list a mile long of excuses of why I am not or can’t work out. My biggest gripe is the time commitment to going to the gym. So to have the ability to work out in my living room playing a video game is a very enticing offer and one that actually worked for me with EA Sports Active 2. I consider myself a video game connoisseur I did struggle with some of the technical problems that slowed down the workout or made me re-do exercises at inopportune times. With that being said the overall package of EA Sports Active 2 is actually for me a lot more enjoyable then going to the gym.
Coach potatoes meet your worst nightmare, a game that gets you up off the couch and actually does a great job of making exercising a quick and entertaining process. EA Sports Active 2 is not without some technical problems, but I could really see this series becoming a staple in home workouts. If anything it got me off of the couch and doing something productive, and for that you have to give EA Sports Active 2 a lot of credit.