Monday, August 24, 2009

Wii: EA Sports Active

I love my Wii, I really do. I ran out and bought Wii Fit the day it came out (and yes, I did go into work late that morning because I *had* to set it up and play it once first!). Wii Fit is a cute game, but it's more about the stretching and not enough about the cardio for me. It's got some strength building in there too, but after over a year of it, I've gotten tired of it.

I bought that Jillian Michaels' game for the Wii Balance Board the day it came out, too - and it was horrible. Awful. I was elated when someone agreed to swap for it on and finally got it out of my house. Ugh.

So when EA Sports announced their new Active game, I was a little hesitant until I saw the trailers online. Woo, adding a thigh strap to attach the nunchuk and also resistance bands? Cool. So again, bought it the day it came out (but this time I was sensible and waited until after work to set it up).

Overall, I really like the game. It's made up of a ton of segments, most about 1-3 minutes long. There's cardio segments, strength segments, upper body/lower body, etc. They've set up a "30 day challenge" that guides you through 20 days of pre-set exercises (with rest days built in every third day). You can choose easy, medium or hard intensity, and you can use the balance board some days if you'd like. You can completely do this game without it as well. The difference in the intensities seems to be the number of reps/laps that you have to do for each exercise.

I was really psyched about these 30 day challenges, because the ads made it sound like they were customized to you and would be all personal and stuff. Well, they're not. They're set up ahead of time, and they don't change based on how well or how poorly you do with a particular exercise. The good news is that at the beginning of a workout, it displays the exercises that you're going to do, and you can un-check any that you hate. I really can't do high-impact things, so I bail on a few of these (jump squats, fast kick-ups). It gives you the total time for the workout and an estimate of calories burned.

Speaking of calories, I do like that it shows you a running total of the calories you've burned during that workout. It does not appear to allow you to go back and see how many calories you've burned on previous days though, and that's an oversight. There's also no weight loss component here - even though you can use the balance board, the game asks you to enter in your weight manually (to do the calorie calculations).

The "trainer" that does each workout with you can get annoying, but luckily you can turn off that audio pretty easily (he/she does still introduce each exercise to you though). You can also customize the music that plays during the workout.

The resistence band that comes with the game is pretty light, and I wish they included a second heavier band with it. I have other bands, but none with handles, which really come in handy when trying to hold both the band and the Wiimote/nunchuk.

And that nunchuk... I need to get a wireless one. I am constantly smacking myself in the head/belly/thigh when using this game. Ow. I was causing serious pain when doing volleyball before I learned to wrap all of the excess cord into my hand before trying to bump. Ow again. This game is designed for right-handed folks, but you can do almost everything left-handed, even if your virtual you doesn't do it that way. I tend to switch hands while playing tennis and basketball to keep things interesting.

According to the game, I've burned over 10,000 calories while playing it. (You can earn trophies for various accomplishments, and that's the highest calorie trophy on there.) I wish it had a bit more trophies to help keep you motivated for longer. ;)

Overall, I recommend this game. It's got some faults, but every day, I can work up a sweat in the game. I'm near the end of my 3rd 30 day challenge (on hard this time) and I've got a bunch of custom workouts that I've saved as well. I look forward to the expansion game that's coming out this winter (and would love to beta test it if you're looking for help, EA!) :)

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