I can't help but feel that if you have NEVER used a previous version of EA Sports Active, they you will like this game/workout an awful lot more than me.
I however, AM a previous user, and as a result, I find the downsides of this workout incredibly annoying.
Just a little note, what's in the box? A USB dongle that plugs into the back of your Wii (you need this to connect the arm and leg straps), the Heart Rate Monitor (left arm strap), the leg strap (for the right leg), the disc (of course), and the green rubber resistance band and 2 handles. There are no instructions for attaching the handles, but if you have the first EA Active, follow the same instructions that came with that. Seems odd they didn't include the instructions for newbies to this series though?
Do yourself a favour, and do a Wii system update (if required, but check anyway), then turn your console OFF. Then plug in the USB Dongle and restart it. Then insert the disc and go through the set up process. Connect the arm strap before the leg strap, it seems quite fussy about wanting everything done in order, but just do as it says and you should be fine.
Right then, the review!
The good points are that for previous users like me, there is a whole host of new workouts added to the mix, such as moutain boarding, football (although this is only really a rehash of a different excercise), foot fires (which are an absolute killer!) and a load of others. Even the step aerobics have had a makeover and been made more intensive, and with more moves involved, which I am still trying to get my head (or should I say feet?) around.
The heart rate monitor hooked up first time for me with no issues whatsoever. I did check my system first to make sure it had the necessary update, and all was well. However, I am not convinced as to the accuracy of it. I can be running like the clappers and it reads about 112bpm, then when I am on the floor doing the cool down, it will read say, 167! Go figure? So I really can't say that this addition is any bonus to the workout at all.
The leg strap has turned itself off on me twice in 6 workouts, and for no reason that I can find? I have had no warnings about batteries going flat or anything else, it just seems to get bored and go to sleep! As soon as I press the button, it hooks up again straight away. Odd.
Speaking of the arm and leg straps, they are comfortable to wear and not annoying in the slightest. They get a thumbs up for that as the old leg stap was not the best (material tearing and coming apart).
The actual workouts are killer, no other word for it! I have previously done the 6 week challenge on More Workouts twice, firstly on easy, and secondly on medium setting, which I finished on Christmas Eve. I started this new version the day after Boxing Day, and took the 9 week challenge on the same medium setting I had just finished. I figured that made sense and if it wasn't enough I could always up the intensity. Well am I ever glad I didn't set it harder! Medium level on EA 2 is a different kettle of fish to Medium on MW, it is SO hard! I felt like I had never ever worked out before and was huffing and puffing like an old cart horse. By the end I was fit for nothing. The next day, my hamstrings and bum hurt like you wouldn't believe, to the point that even sitting down was painful! It gave me a workout alright, no doubt about that. But did I enjoy it? In honesty, no.
Well, that was supposed to be the good bit. It wasn't that good was it? Sorry, I hate to be all doom and gloom, but I really feel there are more downsides than plus points.
So now onto the not so good bits, or perhaps they should be called, the REALLY annoying bits:
1) On the old EASA More Workouts, you could look ahead on your calendar and it would tell you what workouts you had in store for the upcoming days/weeks. If you moved your wiimote hand onto the date, it would say for instance 'cardio/lower body - 27.03 mins' or 'upper body - 32.37 mins' so you knew what bits of your body you would be working on what days. Not any more. You move your wiimote to the days and it just tells you how long your workout will last, no other details. And speaking of how long the workouts last . . .
2) The timing of the workouts is a million miles off! For example, yesterday it told me my workout would last 29.03 minutes. In reality, from starting the warm up to finishing the cool down, it took over 51 minutes! The time it gives you IS the time you spend doing the actual excercises (I think) but it takes no account of the instructional videos it shows you, or of the load times (which are SLOW) between exercises and as described, these add up a lot! Over 20 minutes extra on a half hour workout. Hmmmmm.
3) The sensors are not exactly accurate. On excercises like skipping and stride jumps, it simply cannot read right. The other day it took me 119 stride jumps in order to register 85. Skipping I frequently do about 20 jumps more than I am supposed to do to get them to register as being complete. Which is fine if you want the extra excercise, but annoying nonetheless. I NEVER had this problem before, not even with the dreaded nunchuk.
4) On split squats a few days ago, I did the first set of 8 on the wrong leg. But it didn't tell me this UNTIL I had to switch legs, then it refused to continue unless I did the same leg over again. So I ended up pausing the game, doing the reps on my other leg, then skipping the rest of the routine. Also, sometimes, it doesn't register the movement on this, and tells you to stand up, when you are already stood up. Grrrrr.
5) The Wii Fit Board, one of my biggest bug bears! I have the board and like to use it. I have always used it in More Workouts. Anyone who has one, will know that if it is not used for a period of time, it switches itself off. never a problem before, you only use it for certain excercises anyway, and you simply turn it on when needed. NOT ANY MORE! I think Nintendo now have a contract with Duracell, because if you opt to use the board as a part of your workout, you have to turn it on at the very beginning, even if you don't need it! And God forbid it goes into standby, the workout will pause itself until you turn it on again, which absolutely INFURIATES me! WHY??? I don't need it, and all it accomplishes is draining my batteries! AAARRGH!!! They had this right before, you turn it on when needed, so why did they change it? No excuses, either I am right about Duracell, or this is a stupid stuff up. So of course, the only way to keep it 'alive' is to jump on it between each excercise. Pathetic.
6) The Wiimote. On previous versions, you used to press A to move between excercises. But now it is pretty much redundant, the excercises move on themselves and you only use the Wiimote on certain excercises. But guess what? Yep, if it goes to sleep, the game pauses! no matter what you are doing, whether you need it or not, if you let that Wiimote go to sleep, you can't work out until you wake it up again by pressing the A button. So why then, did they make the excercises move on themselves when you have to press the bloomin' button anyway?
7) Calories burned. Someone, somewhere is telling porky pies. It seems I have to work 3 times as hard on this version to burn the same amount of calories as on More Workouts. So which one is accurate? I don't know. But given the heart rate monitor is anything but accurate, I suspect, it may be this one that is reading wrongly. And I gained tremendous results on More Workouts, so I KNOW I was burning some serious calories!
I should probably end there. I feel I could write a book about the bits that bug me, heck, I almost did! There is no denying that this game will give you a good workout, a hard workout! It is tough, and you WILL get results if you stick to it (hence the three stars). BUT, I got results from the previous version, without all these niggles. I was a size 14/16 and in 8 weeks took 6 inches off my waist, and my legs have slimmed down no end! I actually enjoyed my workouts on the old system, now, sadly, I don't. I cringe at the prospect of firing up my Wii, and I am seriously thinking of reverting to the old version, it is annoying me that much. I had read so many reviews on this game before adding it to my Christmas wishlist, and I abandoned the Kinect version because it seemed so awful and decided to stick with the Wii. Now I am thinking I should have abandoned it altogether.
Just my opinion, this should have been another bolt on, like More Workouts. Forget the HRM, lower the price and just sell it for the additional excercises to keep your workout fresh and interesting. I think it would have been way more successful and with the old system, a lot more enjoyable.