Customer Review

223 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leader of the Pack, 27 Dec 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 - Kinect Compatible (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
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:

- 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.

= 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

+ 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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jan 2012 10:37:44 GMT
SlayerKat says:
Great review. One of the best I've ever read on a game. Thank you for sharing.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2012 03:39:36 GMT
JP says:
@SlayerKat! Thanks :D Great that it could help!

Posted on 5 Jan 2012 01:28:07 GMT
M. Brookes says:
If only all reviews (including "pro" ones) could be this professional. Thank you!

Posted on 11 Jan 2012 12:54:02 GMT
Cumberpatch says:
Excellent write-up, thanks :)

Posted on 14 Jan 2012 14:16:23 GMT
NJ Ward says:
Thanks for your honest review it has helped us loads

Posted on 17 Jan 2012 10:08:57 GMT
Miss Brown says:
Thank you for the the review truly help in my decision.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2012 10:23:50 GMT
JP says:
Thanks! Great to be of help :D

Posted on 24 Jan 2012 21:41:00 GMT
A really helpful review with lots of detail. I am a bit unsure about getting this product as your review mentions the pitfalls for beginners. I know, from other exercise 'games', that you are right about the surprising inattention to this group of consumers. I am not really a beginner, having used such games for some years now but I have health problems and a bad 12 months or so has prevented me from exercising. I want to try and get a bit fitter but have to be careful, so my question, after all that, long-winded, preamble is whether you think this game would be suitable for someone like me, who needs to build up very slowly in terms of both time and difficulty? Don't worry though, I'm not looking for a cast-iron answer - just your, informed, opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2012 03:22:13 GMT
JP says:
Actually, I've heard of similar people with the same dilemma. I have family members recuperating from operations and they were also looking for something that can get them started in a slow manner. Honestly, I do not think there is a game at this moment that really caters for this target group, as the best exercises should be a combination of pilates, yoga and tai-chi; that is exercises that strengthen the core and athletic ability. Then again, I do think YC 12 offers the closest to this with its yoga and tai chi section, albeit very small section.
Personally I am waiting for a game that gives me these kind of stretching exercises in a well guided fashion. I am pretty surprised that we haven't seen titles like that yet, and so far there are none on the way for 2012 either.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2012 17:26:44 GMT
Thanks for the quick reply and I appreciate your thoughts on this. I am very surprized there is such a gap in the market and none of the developers have seized upon this, or look like doing so in the nearish future. I've been using bits of games for a few years now so it's not as though there hasn't been plenty of time for something to be developed. It was the mention of Yoga and Tai Chi, in YC 12, that caught my attention.

I do have and use a Nintendo Wii, (using Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, 2 EA Sports Active games mainly - the first being the nearest to having something gentle - once again it is only certain sections that can be used and some are so gentle I am not sure they are very effective. (some of the EA bits are ok too - ie dance). The trouble is it gets expensive when you need a variety of games in order to be able to use a few sections of each - and I realize that what suits my needs can be very different to what is suitable for someone with different problems.

I think you have homed in ton the main point - that exercise to strengthen the core is what is needed - we can only hope, that in time, there will be something out there.

Thanks again

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