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EA Sports Active Review - Wii

7.5
Gameplay: 8 stars 8
Graphics: 7 stars 7
Audio: 7 stars 7
Multiplayer: 5 stars 5
Innovation: 8 stars 8
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Introduction

Wii Fit is a phenomenon. It’s sold thousands of copies in Australia and millions worldwide, as the casual players take advantage of the platform and Wii Balance Board to help them get into shape. However, that game is not quite fully formed. While you can have reasonable success losing weight, it lacks the tools to help you build your strength and muscle tone. EA saw an opportunity, but does it fill the gap?

Gameplay

EA Sports Active takes the concept of Wii Fit and improves on it in several ways. As you’d know from my review, the problem with the latter was that the strength training was useless without some form of resistance. EA Sports Active fixes the problem by including an elastic resistance band, and a thigh strap for holding the nunchuk. Unlike Wii Fit, you need to hold the Wii remote in every exercise, so you’re not constantly putting it on the table and then picking it up again to navigate, and the nunchuk is used for some exercises too. When not used, it just tucks out of the way into the pouch. It really makes it so much easier to just get in and work out.

The resistance band is the truly genius inclusion. It comes with two straps that you attach – one to each end – and the resistance will differ depend on where you position them. If you want it to be harder to pull, move them closer to the centre. The band is integrated into a lot of upper body exercises, and you really feel it. Wii Fit just doesn’t compare – seriously. Having something to actually pull against will always be superior to acting out the motions.

The other exercises are also successful. With a wider variety of activities and a less sterile environment, the game feels a lot more positive overall. There are real trainers and real videos showing you exactly how every activity should be performed, and continual encouragement and advice throughout a set of exercises. There are variations on running so that you’re not just jogging on the spot all the time. You play tennis, boxing and even dance to the beat. Doing side jumps is crushingly painful, but in a satisfying way. You start off with simple exercises, and then gradually combine different movements into one longer, more complex action.

On occasion, I did have a bit of trouble getting the game to recognise my movements. You really need to follow every instruction as they say it and not try to beat the game’s pace. If it wants to you lunge left, you have to do it after they say so, and then pause once you’ve made the movement. Similarly, when doing bicep curls, you really need to twist the Wii remote towards you with your wrists, or else it won’t pick up the curved movement (a classic pre-MotionPlus Wii remote issue). It’s not a game-breaker once you work out to slow down and concentrate on the technique, but there were certainly moments ...

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