on 22 November 2010
Having used the first Sports Active on the Wii last year, I was very eager to get a copy of SA2; the various demos which had shown up on youtube etc looked very impressive indeed. I went for the PS3 version this time round as I wanted a 'hands free' experience. The unreliability of motion sensor control in the original version on the Wii was the only thing that let it down in my opinion, but there was no real way of getting round that.
So anyway - on to this version. Set up was a cinch; I've read about people having problems getting the wireless sensors to sync, but no such problems here. Straps on, synced up and ready to go. I signed up, made my profile etc. and then headed into a medium workout scheme over 20 days. All good stuff, and broke a sweat as expected (I might restart on the hard workout scheme with which I'm more familiar with from the Wii original). The absolute joy of not being pounded with death by squats is the most immediate improvement that this new version has implemented.
Yes, there are leg exercises, but they're not quite so harsh and are combined with other movements so you don't end up with dead legs. It also helps that you're not expected to do a jog or run as a warm-down - you actually get, in the last three/four exercises, a good series of muscle stretches to warm down properly, a little like the old yoga exercises on the Wii. This new version seems to be much more about 'all over' exercise whilst retaining the cardio-vascular conditioning elements of the first.
One thing - same problem as the original - if you've got arms stronger than an eight year old child, then the resistance cord isn't actually much use. I've been using a resistance tube that I bought to replace the cord in the original game, and it's far more demanding and effective than the packaged one.
So all in all, this is what it's supposed to be. The hands-free wireless system works well, the exercises have been updated, you break a sweat and feel nicely knackered afterwards.
Just remember though - if you really want to shed the pounds, you'll have to use this in conjunction with a healthy diet. I lost two stone with the original game in a month and a bit, but that was combined with a virtual crash diet (1000kcal a day intake). These games on their own will not really help you lose much weight if you gorge daily on pies and sweets. Saying that, any exercise is better than none, so go forth and have fun!
on 7 January 2011
I have never really enjoyed going to gyms as always feel very self conscious, and generally speaking find them a bit dull, but have recently wanted to increase my fitness level and start to lead a more healthy lifestyle. I'm not all that fit, so thought this would be a good way of getting a bit fitter without having to feel so self conscious. I have to say I wasn't really expecting much from it, and have been very impressed by what I have seen. The added heart rate monitor is excellent, as it enables you to see the change in your heart rate throughout the programme. I have been at it for a good few weeks now, and can already see that my level of fitness has increased.
There is a great array of exercises, some of which are really fun, such as basketball, football, mountain boarding, and mountain biking, and there are three levels - easy, medium and hard. There's also a good number of stretches to do in it which I have found to be very useful.
After reading a few reviews one of my main worries about EA Sports Active 2 was whether or not the sensors would be very good, but I have to say I have had very few problems with them. There has been the odd exercise where I've got a little frustrated with them, but I've always found a way around it, and have never found that it ruins the enjoyment of it.
I don't think this would replace the gym, or other types of exercise for everyone, but I have found it to be a great introduction to fitness, and can see myself continuing to use it alongside other exercise methods in the futre. My only real complaint about it is the resistance band isn't all that good, but considering the price, I'd be quite happy to go and replace this with something else.
All in all it's great, and I have now started to look forward to exercising
This game certainly makes you feel like you have done some exercise with the added benefit of being able to monitor your heart beat. There are 3 monitors that fit on your arms and one leg, these register your movement and heart beat, enabling you to see just how well you are working out.
You input some basic information about yourself and set up the monitors to start, very easy then you get to pick a coach. He shows you how to do each exercise first which you can skip then you follow him into the exercise routine. At the moment the exercises are in bite size sections so you don't get bored but you are still raising your heart beat. I am only on the first week so the total amount of time spent exercising is 25 minutes I don't know if that time expands as you get further into the program. The program is supposed to be a 9 week one so it will be interesting to see if my fitness has increased.
The graphics are very good and a lot more grown up than the Wii Fit. You are encouraged to work at the speed being shown by the coach.
I love it and am off downstairs to use it now.
on 13 January 2011
I was going to join a gym this year, but decided to opt for the easy option and have fun at the same time by purchasing Active 2. The reviews were excellent and justifiably so. I had no problems setting up the straps, and instead of using the resistance band thats included, I now use my own weights, which should offer better results. There is a vast array of options available which should suit persons of any fitness to achieve their own personal goals.
I'm only slim so haven't purchased it to lose the calories that the 'game' has as its main core but wish to gain more muscle strength and lose a bit of the old belly, and thankfully, active 2 allows you to pick and choose the exercises to target what it is you want to achieve.
The exercises are in short sharp bursts, so they don't become mundane, before being repeated further into the routine.
If you put the effort and motivation into active 2 then it should help you in your quest, it feels good to actually become breathless, work up a sweat and have achey muscles in the comfort of your own home.
Another major advantage is that my water intake has increased to aid hydration, so as well as the game working wonders, my skin should benefit as well.
The only problem with the game is that at times the system doesn't pick up the fact you are doing an exercise which is annoying and you therefore have to skip the exercise and move onto the next one, yet how it knows you are doing one in the first place is a marvel so having to skip the odd one isn't too bad.
Whether the gamer will achieve what they set out to achieve is another matter, yet as an introduction and a fun way to get some exercise its a great way to feel better about yourself.
Unlike its Wii counterpart, EA Sports Active 2 on PS3 doesn't use the host console's motion controller. Instead it comes with an exclusive extra arm sensor. This is a good thing and makes exercising a completely hands-free experience, ironically bettering the Kinect version on 360, which at the time of writing is suffering from a number of teething troubles. On PS3 you can be where you want in the room and you only need to worry about a joypad when it comes to menus. All communication with the sensors and heart-rate monitor goes through the small USB dongle. This is perfect and it's a wonder EA made it any different for the other formats.
The 'game' looks like little more than the upscaled Wii title that it so clearly is. It certainly doesn't make the graphics chip sweat, but the arrival on PS3 has a couple of new features unfamiliar to Wii owners. Notably, in the options menu is a link to the EA Store, which will eventually see extra downloadable exercise programmes added. Wii owners also appear to be experiencing set-up problems with the new heart-rate monitor. I don't know if this extends to PS3, but it certainly didn't extend to me. Syncing all three sensors was fast and easy. This is perhaps because the Wii's USB port is on the back of the console and the PS3's is on the front. The heart-rate monitor is, of course, the big new addition to this sequel. It works as a form of positive feedback, just like the calorie counter, and its key task is to let you know if you need to raise or lower your game. Anyone can cheat the moves, but you're only cheating yourself and the HRM makes a point of telling you when the calorie counter is being fooled.
Like any self-respecting gamer, when faced with the difficulty options, my instant reaction was, 'son, you ain't got nothing for me, bring on your worst'. Midway through my first programme I was like, 'make it stop! I'm melting!'. But I persevered and by the end, as the notification of a handful of Trophies flashed in the top-right-hand corner of the screen, I was completely pumped. That's when you know a workout is working (out), it batters you but you end up feeling great at the end of it. And it really is conducive to a better standard of living because when it tells you of the calories burnt and congratulates you, you come away from it not wanting to stuff your face full of pizzas and cookies, which makes it incredibly rare among videogames.
You have the ability to plan your own schedule. You can focus on cardio, upper or lower body to suit your personal needs and customise your own work outs. You can workout in groups online (servers allowing) and, blatantly most important of all, it allows for custom soundtracks that can be transferred from your PS3's hard drive. Of course you want to sweat to Eye Of The Tiger and You're The Best Around. Who wouldn't?
On PS3 you don't have to worry about Kinect or balance boards to get the best out of it, the only other expenditure required is if you want another set of accessories for a second participant. The only way to do this at the moment is to buy another copy of the game. EA says that secondary sets will be introduced at some point, but they're needed now! Active 2 caters for two players, to make them both buy a copy of the game is bad form.
That aside, this currently stands as the best version of the best exercise title on consoles. This is my opinion but it's also considered pretty much fact. There's also a surprising amount of fun and pleasure to add to the pain and going for that coveted Platinum Trophy. So if you intend to spend Christmas playing Call of Duty and Gran Turismo on the sofa next to a tin of Quality Street, you'd be well advised to pick this up for the New Year to find out why.
EA Sports have broadened their offering from the Wii to other platforms including the PS3 with Active 2. As there are precious few good fitness products on the PS3 platform, this is an excellent thing. Note that you do NOT need Move and in fact, I don't even think it supports Move .... yet.
In the box you get the disk, a largely unnecessary guide, a resistance band with straps, a leg monitor, a heart monitor and an arm monitor, together with the batteries to power these sensors and finally a USB stick that plugs into the front of your PS3 to read the monitors. In fact the only thing not included is motivation. Sorry, that's down to you! In fact, there is another thing they could have added and that's a leaflet telling you how to attach the straps to the resistance band as it's not entirely obvious - but simple once you've mastered the idea.
Set up is a breeze. The sensors are comfortable and relatively light weight and you soon forget you are wearing them (although the leg one has to be quite tight to avoid slipping in the more jumpy exercises).
The performance of the sensors is not bad - not perfect, but not bad. Sometimes they miss a movement and they are certainly not perfect by any means, but certainly better than nothing. Make sure they are not put on upside down and that you do the exercise in the order prescribed (eg if it starts with left leg, don't try with the right as it might not register). But it's slightly better than an exercise DVD and there is some feedback on your movement. The heart monitor is a useful addition although I'd take the measurements with a pinch of salt.
You can plan your own routine or, more likely, you can follow one of two plans (both with an easy, medium or hard level) - either a three week cardio workout or a nine week programme. You have a choice of two fitness instructors (male and female) and can, if you find the background music too annoying, load your own music via the PS3 songlists. There's also an opportunity to upload the data on line so that you can access results on your lap top. Some have reported that this takes a long time and the interface on the site still says "beta" but I've not had any real delays with this.
To date, there are no additional add ons or routines to download, but it's early days and I suspect that this may come in time. It tends to assume you want to lose weight rather than any other goal, but it still gives you a decent fitness boost.
If you want to train with your partner/flat mate, you will need an additional set of sensors which you can buy separately although these are relatively expensive compared to the complete "game".
The best thing is the variation of the exercises which prevent boredom. Each is well explained and there are both conventional exercises (you can use your own free-weights instead of the resistance band if you like - the sensors pick that up as well) but you don't need any additional equipment - except perhaps a thin mat if you have solid flooring. The routines build up a sweat and you can feel the "burn" afterwards - perhaps if you live in a flat you might end up annoying the people below with all your leaping around, but you should be OK. If you can lunge left, right, forward and back and jump without bashing yourself on the ceiling or light fitting, then you have enough room. I managed to knock a paperweight off a shelf on my first session - but at least that meant I lost "weight" on the first go!
It's not perfect, but it's BY FAR the best fitness offering on the PS3 and the programme more than survives the switch of platforms.
on 21 January 2011
I've been using this for the past few weeks, working my way through the 9 week program. Here's what I've found.
The workout program seems pretty good at getting the heart pumping and burning calories. It doesn't seem to be working my "core" at all at this point, but the cardio and weight training seem like they're building in intensity, so I'm assuming more in the way of crunches etc. will come in later. The focus does feel a little too heavy on the leg muscles though. To the detriment of everywhere else.
The trainer is, on the whole, not too bad. He's a bit irritating at times (I tried the woman, she was just as bad) but the advice on different exercises can be useful, if a little out of place when its offered.
The range of exercises on offer look good too. I've no idea what some of them are... but there are tutorials for each, so its easy enough to find out. The ability to build up your own workout, or have a trainer generated one is a nice touch too, though it would be nicer if there was a "try exercise" option (see below).
It is worth noting though that some of the tutorials (and in-game actions) perform the exercises in ways the trainer's verbal instructions tell you NOT to do them. I know it's just an avatar on screen, but the real strength I've found in this was that it shows you how to do exercises and tells you how to get the best out of them. Having that not match up is pretty bad. It doesn't happen often, but its worth watching for.
the weekly fitness check is a little light for what its doing, but it's good that it's there rather than just ignored.
The resistance band is a waste of minty smelling rubber. honestly bin it and either don't bother or use some dumbbells, there's no noticeable resistance to it.
In terms of the presentation...
EA should not have shipped this in its current state, it's a clear beta product and not necessarily one that was close to release status. I haven't seen anything as badly done in a long time.
The menu system is beyond slow and more than a little glitchy, as are some of the in-game loading screens etc. It doesn't directly affect the workout itself, but it is irritating. The game is not graphics intensive. At all. So the degree of slow down isn't something that can be levelled at that. I'm guessing it's because it's a cross-console release and getting it all out in time to cash in on christmas means none got polished. Not so bad for the ps3 version, where you don't have to buy the kinect... but it's still a serious issue.
The menu system is also a total mess. Things you might expect to find easily (setting goals for example) are not where you'd expect. It's all there, just not done well.
Pacing between exercises is almost non-existent, it seems governed more by the loading screen time than any actual attempt to give time for, say, a mouthful of water. That can be solved by hitting pause, but again, it can be a bit slow. You NEED to have the controller handy pretty much at all times
The motion sensors can be a bit temperamental... say the same exercise occurs twice in a given workout: the first time it works fine, the second time you might be swinging your arms in entirely the opposite direction to what's on screen, just to get the "stand still, raise your arms" text to go away and let the exercise finish. This one I've noticed more with weight training than anything else, it happens roughly every second workout. Skipping the exercise is an option but it removes the progress from your workout and (as mentioned above) getting the menu up to do it can be slow. This has nothing to do with misplacement for the sensors or the assorted other issues I've seen noted online, it just seems to be a bug plain and simple.
The instructions from the trainer can be counter-intuitive / at odds with what's happening on screen. This may be my lack of experience with a physical trainer, but the verbal instructions seem to mirror (rather than copy) what the trainer avatar does on screen. Watching someone step forward with their left leg, with text saying "follow me" and verbal instructions saying "step forward with your right leg"... You get used to it, but every now and then I actually copy what I see on screen, then half way through get told off for having the wrong leg forward. This can be made all the worse when coupled with the sensors glitching or exercises that mean you can't maintain eye contact with the screen.
There's no option to just try an exercise, rather than have a "workout". You can go into "make your own workout" and select things to try them, but you end up with a set of My Workout no.X entries.
The EA website it keeps trying to log you into when it starts is a beta site. Really that's in-line with the rest of the product.
All in I'd say its a good way to learn different exercises, check technique and get into the habit of doing regular workouts. In that respect I've been happy to recommend it to people. When it works, it works well and you do feel like you've had a good workout by the end. It does badly need patched though and until that point I can see a lot of people getting fed up with its glitches. I'm not quite there yet, but it's been close a few times.
on 23 November 2010
I have to echo most of the comments by D.J. Roberts, never played it before on previous consoles as only have a PS3 but very impressed so far. I've been doing a fair bit of running over the summer and autumn but now the winter and dark nights have set in I can't get much done after work so this seemed ideal.
I had trouble setting up the three receivers, it ended up being I didn't press the sync buttons long enough. The guide seems to indicate just press the button and it will sync, but the first time you sync them you have to keep the button pressed in until its recognised.
Talks about water breaks at various points but the gaps aren't long enough and i end up having to re-start some exercises, it would be nice if at these points you had to press a button to say you're ready to continue.
Other than that seems great value for money, at least on the PS3, seems odd the 360 version is same price but also requires Kinect (this doesn't use PS Move or the EyeCam).
UPDATE: Been using for 3 weeks now and still going strong, doing the 9 week program and have kept to it apart from one missed session, but you can catch up on missed sessions. Price drop now makes this even better value, was £65 now £50
on 2 January 2011
I used to break dance, BMX, and all sorts of sports, but in the last 3-4 years I have become more lazy without much spare time after coming home from work.
However I could feel myself becoming unfit and putting on a few kg.
So I decided to give Active 2 (PS3 version) a go.
It is awesome. It genuinely was pushing me further than I would have been tempted to do had I gone to a gym alone.
The system monitors the heart rate pretty well, and helps you know how hard or not you are pushing yourself.
The game takes care of planning your work out routine - which is awesome, because you're not doing exercises based on what you feel like doing but on a proper programme.
I can't recommend this game enough, even for people who are not a fan of this genre.
Obviously, it is hard to rate the fun, towards the end of each session, you feel like punching the TV cause you are exhausted - but that's the point anyway.
on 26 January 2011
I purchased this game because I am a poor student who simply cannot afford the £50 a month gym fares in central London and hoped this would be a light alternative.
It is a light alternative to the gym, but definitely no real substitute. I always manage to work up a decent sweat on the high intensity setting, though I prefer to use my own work outs rather than the work out plans in the game (which were rather boring and hardly got my heart going at all). The music is repetitive and annoying after a while, but it does let you use your own playlists.
The activities, such as virtual football and basketball and even mountainboarding are actually quite fun and not as ridiculous as they initially sound.
I'm not convinced that the calorie counter tells the truth and the game will let you get away with exercising very half-heartedly. The game seems to have absolutely no idea whether you are doing the cool down stretches at all, and does not give you enough time to work out how they are done (hence resulting in stiff legs the next day). I recommend doing your own warm up and cool down exercises in addition to the game.
A major problem I found was that the game simply will not let me do squats, as it says I am squatting too low when I am standing upright (this probably is to do with my height 4"9, and I read another review that said the same for a 5" female).
The lifestyle and nutritional survey seem a little bit pointless, but I'm sure nobody is buying the game for them.
In conclusion, this is a great value for money but it cannot be used as the sole source of exercise. My advice is if you can afford the gym, go to the gym. If you prefer to work out privately in your own space you may enjoy this. If you are a fan of doing work out videos by the latest slimmed down celebrity, I definitely recommend this.