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4.6 out of 5 stars
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 - Kinect Compatible (Xbox 360)
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240 of 245 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2011
Leader of the Pack

When Kinect released the first bunch of exercise titles in 2010, I had raked them all up, tried them, and soon realised that almost none could deliver a substantial exercise programme yet. I would like to say that now with Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 (YS 12) we are getting close a standard people who want to exercise at home will feel satisfied with. Still a few wrinkles to iron out, but at this point your safest bet in a well-rounded Kinect exercise title is YS 12.

Firstly, for those who have never gone to the gym or tried any kind of "real world" exercise program--failure to follow through with an exercise program is guaranteed if exercising is not in your blood. Those lean, athletic shaped bodies you see on the cover of the game are people who live and breathe exercise, almost like a job. The majority of us use the word "health" and "exercise" every year in our new year's resolutions and then quickly forgot we ever said that. My point is that you will--and like I said that is almost guaranteed--suffer exercise fatigue in that you will not feel motivated to get up and put the disc in the Xbox and do you daily routine. That's human nature for the majority of us and it does not mean that Kinect sucks or that the game itself is weak. Therefore, I have found the best way to keep it going is to have more than one Kinect exercise game and alternate between them every few weeks or months.

Secondly, for those who have owned the first Your Shape Fitness Evolved from 2010. Though that game was one of the better titles on Kinect at launch date, it did feature major glitches that were very off putting. The first was the method of navigating around the menus. You had to hold your hand out to a tiny little bubble on the right and wait a few seconds to select. Move a little and it will deselect and restart the thing over. Moreover, just to get to your daily exercise routine took almost 5 different menus of selections; and often you're not even sure if you are on the right menu. This is all gone with the new user interface which is in my opinion, the best yet on Kinect. Not sure if YS 12 took their cue from the new Windows 8 / Xbox Dashboard / Windows Phone Mango approach, but selection is now grouped into colours (representing different styles of exercise) and then divided into nice, big tiles. Hover your hand over these tiles, push forward like you are pressing an elevator button and voila: menu selected.

The other serious issue was that of progress tracking. In the original game if you started work out on your abs in one programme, you could not exit that programme and try the Zen programme for instance. Doing so would result in resetting the initial abs programme, meaning you had to start again from square one. Have you tried completing a full programme without doing anything else on the original game, you would know that 9 continuous days of ab training quickly gets boring, if not counter affective as it's completely against all exercise principles to exercise the same muscle day in and day out. It was on this point purely that I had traded my original Your Shape Fitness Evolved in. Learning from their mistakes, this glitch is now something of the past and you can swipe your hand freely over the menu tiles, select different programmes, stop, pause, continue and the game will remember what you've done and what not. So, I'm back on YS 12 and I'm hooked.

Overall, before venturing into the exercises themselves, I would like to comment that when you analyze how this game has been made you clearly realise that the developers had spent a lot of time in determining what had worked in the previous game and what had not. This YS 12 is a product of research and trying to bring to customers something that works on Kinect and works well. I'm sounding like a sales person now, but as an avid Kinect supporter I find it enthralling that games like these do get Kinect right. I stand by my earlier point that the menu is the best yet out at this moment--logical, easy and fluid.

Other reviews here have clearly set out what YS 12 does in terms of exercises. There are three groups. The first--orange group--focus on "light-hearted" exercise, fun and warm ups. Don't make a mistake, warm ups are often more exercise themselves than actually getting you ready for the major exercises. The second--red group--are specific muscle focused, like your bum, legs or abs. Select one of these and it will open the exercises related to this part of your body that will help you with your goal. Exercises here are like the original game, just structured better. Those who have never played Your Shape Fitness Evolved: exercises are executed in a beat like fashion where you follow the beat and on-screen coach by moving from left to right, and then performing routines that will strengthen the muscle group you have selected.

The last group--the purple group--consists mainly of downloadable content from the first Your Shape Fitness Evolved like the Bollywood Dancing, and including some new routines, like African Beats (dancing to African beats). The idea in this section is activity focused, like yoga, dancing, etc, and not necessarily a muscle group. Call this the "aerobics" section of YS 12.

From an exercise point of view you cannot go wrong choosing this title. Yes, if you are 100% unfit, it may be very harsh from the get go, but maybe stick with easy exercises and do them over and over again before you move onwards. Also, choose smartly--newbies shouldn't jump into weights or push ups, I suggest classes like the dancing to kick-start your journey. Intermediates can jump in anywhere and enjoy this game.

Like all Kinect titles, YS 12 does suffer from not recognizing certain moves at times. It especially fails in the yoga programme--which is kind of weird as the movements in yoga are super slow. One would expect YS 12 to pick those up easily and have problems with the quicker movements in faster classes, but it often appears to be the other way around. Missing a movement when you do Latino dancing on high speed is acceptable, but it does bring your mood down when it cannot pick up an entire session in a yoga class and you sit with a 0% score.

I've mentioned beginners before and I think would quickly like to elaborate on that. Many owning Kinect are not athletes per se and actually purchased Kinect because going to the gym is a schlep. Bearing that in mind one could easily deduct that the majority of buyers should be beginners or unfit customers--and naturally games on Kinect should be primarily designed to entice this group to pick up the disc and exercise more. For this, they should include levels for beginners which are more guided, and work at slower progression levels. This is not only a problem with YS 12, but in fact all other titles out there: they go too fast too serious too soon for the average person. I hope someone can notice this and include more basic routines in exercise games in the future. Just like all sports you will find a big base playing it for fun, with a few dedicated ones at the top doing it professionally. Exercise boils down to the same thing, but if your programme becomes too demanding too soon, your bigger base at the bottom soon drops out.

Enough blabber. To summarise:

CONS
- not enough basic routines for beginners
- tracking fails seriously on a few exercises (luckily they are in the minority)
- moves tend to get repetitive once you've master a specific discipline, e.g. African Beats (why don't they have more African Beats with different melodies and a few changes in choreography?)
- warm-up exercises are extremely limited and often not true to form warm ups
- still no co-op play--the wife and I have little time at night to practice at night, so we prefer doing it together, like Dance Central 2 and even The Black Eyed Peas Experience. As I cannot see any big difference in movements between YS 12 and DC 2, it would be nice if she and I could exercise together. Sadly, YS 12 does not offer this option resulting in us having to take turns.

NEUTRAL
= no selection of coaches
= after each exercise you "punch" your calories away with your fist--though this probably has significant symbolic value it becomes unnecessary after 3 weeks

PROS
+ incredible selection and navigation menu system
+ different types of exercising disciplines clearly defined and grouped
+ glitches from the original Your Shape Fitness Evolved ironed out
+ excellent support with downloadable content (DLC)--already 2 new routines you can buy upon posting date of this review
+ the running/jogging programme presented really well and running through the virtual cities keeps your mind active and motivated; especially with the info titbits thrown along the way

I was surprised this Christmas period by the lack of pure exercise titles released for Kinect, the only other one being My Self Defence Coach. It does not appear that other games from the past year are planning to release new versions, which is a pity as they all need serious fine-tuning. YS 12 shows what can be done if you listen to your users and approach the game from a practical side in its presentation. At this moment YS 12 is definitely a step above the rest and definitely the title to start with if you haven't gotten any yet.

If you are looking for an exercise title that will give you a good work out and plenty of exercise options to choose from then Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 is the thing for you. All you need now is commitment, dedication and perseverance...things that unfortunately do not come included in the box.

In the end, ignore the ratings at the top, as I don't wish to score a game, but purely provide information for people who are interested in buying the game and do not know what to expect. In that regard please email me if you have any questions and I'll try and answer them.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2012
I don't have the time to go to the gym. Where I live most of the time is either too cold or to hot to go out jogging. This is the perfect answer to these problems. It needs quite a bit of space and that may be a problem, but it's completely worth it.
There are exercises of many kinds, and they are quite a challenge as I am not very sporty, but still when you don't play the game for some time you really want to get back to it.
I usually get from this game the so called muscle fever, and that is great because in the next couple of days depending on the exercise you will feel in your muscles all the work you have done.
In one week I lost a kilo and I ate much more than usual, and a lot of fatty food. The zen-tai chi exercises and yoga are great to put an ending to each session.
If you have a pair of dumbbells they will be very useful, especially if they are low weight like 2-3 kg. You can then proggressively use more weight.
The cardio box exercises are really fun and tiresome. At the end of each session you will end up completely sweating your shirt.
I never expected this game to work so well and be so useful doing exercise. I have to say I bought kinect mainly for this game,
as I realized it was much cheaper buying kinect and this game than going to the gym, and I am doing it much more often than when I used to go to the gym, as I play this at home and I dont lose time going anywhere.
Hope this helped. This is a must buy for kinect!
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2011
Upon starting the game for the first time, your calorie count from Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2011 is imported. This immediately unlocks a load of achievements. In 2011 the highest calorie target was 10,000. In 2012 it's 200,000! Sadly, this version doesn't ask for your statistics like weight or gender, it just bases calorie count on an average person, so your real-world count might be quite different to what's on screen. Also, despite the game tracking several stats like number of press-ups done, it doesn't keep a total calorie count for the current session, you can only see that on the website or phone app.

2011 used a 2D menu; you move a pointer over the desired item for a couple of seconds. 2012's menus are 3D, you move your realtime 3D hand over the item then move your hand slightly forward, like pressing a big button. This method is so much faster and easier than every other Kinect game menu I've tried that I pray it will one day be commandeered by Microsoft as the official Kinect interface. It's really jarring when you open the Kinect Guide and go back to slow 2D.

The numerous options available to you are:

ACTIVITIES
Warm Up (Juggle It / Kick It / Hurricane / Pump It / Hu-la-la)
Run The World (New York / London)
Wall Breaker
Jump Rope
Stack Em Up
Stomp It

WORKOUTS
Arms
Cardio
Abs
Toning
Back
Sports Preparation (American Football / Soccer)
Glutes
Health (Active Kids / Aging With Grace / Strengthen Your Heart)
Legs

CLASSES
African Rhythms
Boot Camp
Hip Hop
Cardio Boxing
Destination Bollywood
Yoga
Latin Dance
Zen Energy

The Activities have 3-6 difficulty levels that add new gameplay elements. Most Workouts offer about 12 routines, increasing in duration from 2 minutes to 30 minutes. These no longer include tutorials when introducing new moves, you just copy the trainer. Staying in sync with your trainer receives less attention so the green floor link has gone.

Annoyingly, despite having distinct categories, most workouts end up being full-body. For example the Abs workout includes a lot of push ups, and the Arms workout includes lunges. This makes it difficult to do alternate arm/leg days.

You get bonus points for performing several perfect moves in a row, but as before you are at the mercy of Kinect's inconsistent interpretation of what you're doing. However, points still don't do anything. I found it a bit inappropriate seeing this competitive counter in the slow-paced activities like Yoga.

New floor exercises like push-ups work like any other but are implemented better than in Kinect game Biggest Loser because audio feedback from the streak counter lets you maintain repetition pace while facing away from the screen. I needed a folded towel to cushion my knees and spine from my hard floor.

The mini-games from 2011 have been significantly upgraded to the extent that you will probably want to include them in your daily routine. For example, Wall Breaker now includes randomised placement of blocks plus special blocks, instead of set patterns.

Run The World is one of 2012's most touted features. I began with no interest in running on the spot, and the abstract white graphics do not appeal. The trainer reads out tourist information as you pass certain landmarks, and though it's too brief to be interesting, it does help the time pass quickly. You are occasionally asked to sprint for 20 seconds, so it becomes interval training, and as soon as I realised there were three other `virtual runner' markers on the track, my competitive instincts kicked in and the mode became a race I intended to win.

Each activity has an appropriate backdrop, such as a boxing ring or beach. You can no longer select your trainer; it's automatically male for arm exercises and female for legs. Nor can your select your silhouette, the colour is determined by the activity.

Completing an activity gets you a stamp. Earn several and you get a badge or medal. Many achievements are tied to these. You have the option to set an Objective, such as exercise for 90 minutes per week, but this has two issues: Firstly, only the activities it marks with blue flags count towards your objective, which limits your choice. Secondly, it seems wrong that 30 minutes of intense Boxing is worth the same as 30 minutes of relaxed Yoga.

Overall, 2012 expands and improves upon everything in 2011. The fantastic interface sacrifices a few customisation options to provide fast access to a wide range of satisfying content.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2014
Would highly recommend. Have had this game for about a year now and i'm still finding new things to do in it. I have a tendency to get extremely bored with workout games/dvds as i crave variety but this has not happened yet and i don't think it's going to happen for a long time!

If you want a 'proper' workout you can choose from cardio, sports training or do a dance class, or if you would rather target certain areas there are options for legs, bums, arms, abs, etc. You can choose timed workouts anything between 5 minutes to over 30 minutes and while you are doing these workouts the countdown timer is on the screen which, for me anyway, helps me to keep going until the end. It also allows you about 10-15 seconds between 'moves' to catch your breath or grab a sip of water which is great.

Moreover, if you prefer to do a more relaxing workout, there is Zen Energy (Tai Chi) and Yoga which i highly enjoy as the Kinnect scans you to make sure you are in the right position. I always like to end my workouts with either one of these as they can act as a cool down. Or if i've had a stressfull day the breathing always calms me down.

There are also fun activities such as skipping and wall punch which doesn't even feel like a workout because you concentrate so much the task.

With everything you do it measures the calories you've burned and saves your progress and you can also set goals for yourself.

Best money i've ever spent on an exercise game as i'm still getting my money's worth.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2011
I have had this game 2 weeks now, and I can feel and see my body shape changing. The format if the exercise is perfect for me as I have a small child, and having to block out an hour for a fitness DVD wasn't happening recularkt enough to have any affect. However Your shape is perfect as I can turn it on 3 times throughout the day, for 10 mins at a time. It is also hard enough that it challanges me, but generally not too hard that I don't want to try. The game provides enough variety that I don't feel like u have covered half of the content, which is also good.
My only criticism is that it is not as clear to learn the moves as Dance Cenrral or Kinect sports. And sometimes if I can't complete the set, and I stop, it still counts calories even though I am not moving. Having said that, I still think its about the work and effort you put in, and the results you get rather than worrying about the calorie count being correct.

Overall, I think this is the perfect option for exercise for me, its flexible and effective.

Very happy
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2012
Brilliant. I have already lost weight and if you are up for a challenge this is it. With it working with the Kinect system on Xbox it tracks your movement and although sometimes you character is a little behind the computer its still brilliant. I have to say the scarey thing is it actually sees you so you can see what you look like in your gym stuff. hmm if that isn't a motivator I don't know what is!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2012
Just got but already i can see this is going to be excellent. The warm ups are knackering so the exercises must be tough. Try couch potato start if you have never done exercise before. It will be tough but that is the only way to get fit.

I love the interface and goal setting. I truly believe this will work.

I will update soon.

Its great, half hour a day to start and it only takes 30 minutes, not a drive to the Gym or a run through puddles in the woods. Mix it up with real life and it is a great addition to a fitness routine.

1 week on and it is hard. For absolute beginners it may be tough but you can probably slow your pace. I'm loving it but it is turning my room into a sweaty Gym. Love exercising then finishing off with Yoga, kids love the dance.

I play this more than the games now......wonder how long it will last.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2012
This product totally changed my attitude towards the gym. Warm ups can be hard and fun as well. There are so many variations to Your Shape, and for the cost - it is a steal.
I love it. And you do not need a lot of room (space) to perform the routines. The yoga is beautiful. I also have the EA Sport (Kinect) but it is lightyears behind Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012
I am rating it a five. The only down side is that I did not know I had to get weights for some of the exercises.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2012
I have done 10 sessions, each over 60 mins long and felt it was time to review.

I really love this game, there is a lot of variety and as you explore each activity you learn how to put together a workout that is right difficulty. I have lost 2KGs in a month, from 85 to 83KG, mainly thanks to this. I do not see myself tiring of this in the coming months. If you sign up for an online weight tracker like HealthyWeightTracker you can keep the motivation going.

It is not perfect, some of the workouts are too tough for me (e.g press ups) and some of the dance routines are near impossible (bollywood). I also find Yoga surprisingly difficult. I really enjoy Jumprope but I think the music is slightly out of time with the game, which makes it difficult for people like myself with natural rhythm, because I tend to skip in time to the music rather than the game. Also, the 'calories burned' info is quite dubious, for example Wallbreaker tends to offer really high calories burned compared to something like 'Boot Camp' which I find much more intense and fatuiging.

Some advice. I would advise you to input your age and height etc when starting the game. At first I didnt do this and it was rewarding me with very low calories for each workout. After inputting my age etc it started telling me I was burning about 3x more calories than previously.

Despite these minor niggles, which will no doubt be fixed in 2013 version, its great. Microsoft really ought to promote this game more in tv ads and tv shopping as it is much more fun, value for money, and time efficient than going to a gym.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2012
I bought YS2011 when it first came out as I couldn't afford extortionate gym fees and thought this would be a solution. It was. So I also purchased 2012 as soon as it was issued.

The biggest criticism about YS2011 was that it lacked a warm-up section. I have to say it was a big omission and it really affected my use of the programme. I have a weak left knee and diving straight into the exercises was not good at all.

Happily, YS2012 has addressed this head-on with a series of low-impact warm-up routines that get you set up for the main body of the programme.

As with the previous version, YS2012 really does provide you with an alternative to the gym, for a fraction of the cost - and in the privacy of your living room!

New features in this version are 'Run The World' and 'Jump Rope.' Both of these give you a terrific and fun cardio-workout.

The main exercise section is a lot more focused on specific areas of the body - so there are various levels of abs, arms, legs, glutes, etc.

There is also an expanded Activities section that includes a generous number of themed classes (Bollywood, Hip-Hop, Latin etc). In the previous version, these were available for download at an additional cost. Again, the Ubisoft people have been listening to the feedback: I was rather put out that the extras were going to cost me more money. There are some additional items in YS2012, but not many - so well done Ubisoft for actually expanding the package.

So, overall I'm very impressed. The work-outs are fun, they seem to be a lot harder work than YS2011, so I'm finding I'm sweating and gasping a lot more already, and I've only really skimmed the surface. The variety is great and the re-tooled interface is very nice.

I'm just hoping Ubisoft aren't going to make an annual habit of updating.
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