As one of the most successful video games over the past decade, Wii Fit is a genuine phenomenon. Now the sports game experts at EA have released their own fitness title, EA Sports Active: Personal Trainer, which boasts a greater focus on cardiovascular training and traditional workouts. We spent a weekend with the new game, but what does it offer for Wii Fit fans?
The chief difference you’ll see is that EA Sports Active doesn’t include anything comparable to the balance and yoga games in Wii Fit. You’re here to get moving, increase your heart rate, and burn calories. The game keeps you constantly informed on the latter, thanks to a counter in the corner of the screen. Rather than hula-hooping cartoon characters, this offering takes itself much more seriously, with a realistic animated figure to represent the player and a selection of real-life trainers.
EA Sports Active comes with two accessories: a Velcro-fastened neoprene leg-band that holds the nunchuk to your thigh, and a rubber resistance band that’s used for upper body exercises. If you already have the Wii Fit Balance Board, EA’s game will use it in some exercises, although it’s by no means necessary to get the full experience.
EA Sports Active’s main event is a 30-day customized exercise program that’s generated automatically according to your profile. Ours didn’t spare any time in getting down to running, boxing, and stationary lower body exercises. It displays a handy graph that shows you how many calories you can expect to burn during your 20-minute session, and offers achievement trophies for outstanding performances. You can also take on a friend in a two-player, split-screen workout-off. Nothing like a little healthy competition.
So did we break a sweat? You better believe it. Wii Fit’s Balance Board will let you get away with half-hearted running, but a few minutes with EA Sports Active’s jogging or thigh-lifting exercises will have you muttering curses at the on-screen trainer. That leg-band can sense when you’re not lifting your thighs high enough, and piles on encouragement and advice accordingly. Yes, we’re still sore. Literally.
EA Sports Active also takes a more holistic approach to weight loss than Wii Fit, encouraging you to think about your stress levels and eating habits rather than just concentrating on the workouts. Unlike Wii Fit, it doesn’t measure your weight, even if you do have a Balance Board.
Will it replace your Wii Fit regime? It’s a bit early to make that call, but we’re favorably impressed, and we’re not the only ones. The concentration on aerobic, cardiovasular exercises seems likely to deliver more efficient weight-loss results than Wii Fit, and the no-nonsense presentation — together with the likeable, if nagging, trainers — won’t get in the way. It’s also some $30 cheaper than Wii Fit. As to whether it’ll deliver long-term weight loss, we’ll have to wait and see, but so far it’s looking like an excellent alternative to Wii Fit.