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'EA Sports Active' Impressions

PaulSemel
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Posted May 11, 2009 - By Paul Semel

'EA Sports Active' Impressions

You’re fat. You, yes you, in the t-shirt, you are fat. But I have good news for you: EA has a new workout program for the Wii that will whip you into shape.

Well, assuming you don’t give up on it like you did Wii Fit.

Dubbed EA Sports Active, this Wii workout program aims to get gamers into fighting shape, albeit in a way that doesn’t make it a Wii Fit rip off. In fact, you don’t even need a Wii Balance Board to use it, though there are some activities that can employ one if you have your Balance Board handy.

This isn’t the only way that EA Sports Active is differentiating itself from Wii Fit. As we saw from messing around with it at a recent EA event in Los Angeles, Active is actually based around caloric intake -- how many calories you eat, and how many you burn off -- as opposed to Wii Fit, which dealt with your Body Mass Index and balancing abilities.

'EA Sports Active' Impressions

The game also works on the honor system, since instead of weighing yourself on the Balance Board, it asks you to input your own height and weight (though cheating here does kind of defeat the purpose). You then, every day, input a general idea of what you ate and what physical activities you’ve done, before choosing a workout from a series of exercises and activities, all of which vary in time length and intensity, in order to burn off more calories. These exercises — of which there are twenty-five — not only include cardio workouts but also specific upper and lower body activities.

One, for example, was inline skating, which has you speeding down a hill and doing little jumps and turns, and even a trick or two, all by jumping at the right time. This is monitored through the Wiimote and the nunchuck, with some help from a leg strap that comes with Active that you wrap around your thigh, which you then put the nunchuck into. Active also comes with a giant rubber band-like thing with handles at both ends you can use for stretching exercises and cardio, but since it doesn’t electronically connect to the Wii, you’re once again on your honor.

Well, unless you work out with someone. Active is designed in such a way that you can work out with a friend, though it does also come with an interactive trainer who will give you an encouraging word and a smile when you’ve done well, and be just as gracious when you don’t reach your goals. In other words, Active won’t call you fat and then make your avatar balloon up like Violet Beauregarde just because you had a piece of blueberry pie.

Speaking of your on-screen avatar, what’s weird about Active is that when you first start, and are inputting your height and weight, you can also create a custom character who looks just like you. Or as much as a cartoony version of you can look. Except that, if you actually like the way you look, why would you use Active?

How well EA Sports Active will work -- and whether people will stick with it as long, or longer, than they did Wii Fit -- remains to be seen. Well, at least for a couple weeks, since it’s coming out on May 19. Hopefully, it won’t be long after that before people stop calling you fat.

'EA Sports Active' Impressions
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