Keeping You in Shape
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012
As an owner of the original Kinect game, and a player of many other workout games since (UFC, Biggest Loser, etc) I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised with this new version.
As the original one did, the game gives you a body scan when you originally sign in. That image is then what is used to play games. Oddly enough though, I’ve yet to find anywhere in the game where I can modify anything it measured. It also didn’t ask me for my weight so I have no idea where to input that or update it. It did recognize that I was a previous player and carried over my calorie burn count which I thought was great. After that, a ton of achievements were unlocked, which I also didn’t mind ?
Gone are the days of the dreaded menu system from the past. Now, your hands are used in a push and hold motion to activate what you want to do. This is much improved over the old hold the arm out with hand extended to touch a dot for 4 seconds to activate. I always had problems with that one.
The main menu is broken down into 4 sections: My Zone (your settings, goals etc…btw, be sure to go in and change the measurement system to Imperial for those in the US since it is defaulted to metric), Activities, Workouts and Classes. Once I told the game what I wanted to achieve (with several options to choose from) it created a routine for me to follow and there are several to choose from:
Classes include African Rhythms, Boot Camp, Hip Hop, Bollywood, Cardio Boxing, Yoga, Latin Dance and Zen Energy.Activities include Warm Up, Stack Up, Stomp It, Run the World, Wallbreaker and Jump Rope. Run the World here is amazing…more about that later.Workouts include Cardio, Arms, Abs, Toning, Back, Sports Prep, Glutes, Health and Legs
I jumped right into the Run the World and have to say this is fantastic! You run in place in various cities around the world and jog by landmarks. To keep the run interesting, you are monitored for speed (how quickly your knees are moving) and given challenges throughout the run including “high knees” and speed challenges. Along the way, you pass makers regarding the landmarks and a color photo pops up with the training giving you a brief history lesson or fact about it. Very cool.
The recognition on sit-ups went very well, with push-ups still a little off for me. I may have been doing something wrong, but it is the by far the best recognition of push-ups for me of any game I’ve used before. During your training the background will change and spice it up which was also a nice feature.
One final item that didn’t change that seemed to bother a lot of previous players was that there is really no defined way to exit the game or button to push. You still have to get to the pause menu or use your controller to go to the dashboard. If someone can figure out where to input/update the current weight and pass that along, I would greatly appreciate it.
All in all, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the new version as I believe they’ve really worked on making it a great workout game that is much improved from the first one.
**Later in the day edit**
I think they have hit a home run with this game. The jump rope section is like crack! It’s guitar hero, except with your feet. An absolute blast and fun for the whole family! (without getting them addicted to crack, of course) ?
I also did the Boot Camp initial workout and was pretty dang tired after doing it, and I’m really no slouch. The only issue with that was the trainer just started going into movements so you miss a few the first time. But seriously, the background changes through a military theme throughout.
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The original Your Shape: Fitness Evolved provided an excellent showcase of what the Kinect was capable of in regards to fitness and exercise. Its motion detection was revolutionary in terms of how well it detected how well you were performing exercises, and the mini-games it included were both tons of fun and moderately good exercise.
I’m happy to say that Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 does push the platform forward, in an evolutionary if not a revolutionary way. Still, it is by far the best “pure workout” game that you can get on the Kinect.
When you start out the game, you see a blue screen which adjusts the sensor and detects who you are. You’re then brought to a home screen, where you see a stylized cartoon image of yourself. That’s right, there’s no need to create an avatar, because you ARE the avatar. This little change was a huge improvement over the first version, where you played as a brightly colored silhouette. It makes a world of difference, because now you can see your limbs and your body position much clearer than before and match them against the on-screen trainer. More on that below.
The home screen shows a number of different counters: medals won, badges won, and percent of content you’ve played through. On the right you can see the total number of calories you’ve burned playing the game. I do like the fact that there are clear milestones and targets to aim for, which will keep you coming back to the game. (One question a lot of people have is–did Ubisoft fix the annoying bug from the first version where it’d lose track of which sessions you’ve finished in a given routine. The happy answer is yes–now, no matter what order you do the exercises in the system will keep accurate track of which ones you’ve completed).
At the main menu, you have a variety of choices which are color-coded into categories. The blue icons represent your tools. You can keep track of your overall progress, set objectives and take a fitness quiz so the system can recommend specific workouts for you, or go online to share your progress with the community. I do like that they made the fitness test optional in this version, so those who want to can just jump into the exercises.
There are three remaining categories: Yellow icons represent “Activities”, which are mini-games. Red icons represent “Workouts” which are traditional generic calisthenics and strength building exercises of the kind you might find at a gym. Finally, purple icons represent “Classes”, which are essentially themed Workouts.
Under the yellow “Activities”, you have the following mini-games:
1) Wallbreaker: This is essentially the same game as “Virtual Smash” in last year’s version. In it, you have to punch across your body to hit blue blocks that appear next to your virtual character’s body. The more blocks you punch accurately and quickly, the higher your multiplier will go up and the more a grid behind you will fill up–fill it up completely and it’ll collapse. As you get to higher levels you’ll have to kick blocks as well and avoid red blocks and giant anvils swinging at you. Even though this is basically a rehash of last year’s version, it’s still immensely fun, and the fact that you’re controlling “you” and not just a silhouette of you adds a certain dimension to the game. I’d rate this one a 4 of 5 for workout intensity and a 5 of 5 for fun.
2) Stack ‘Em Up: This one is essentially the same game as the game from last year’s version called…”Stack ‘Em Up”. This is the one where you’re holding a plank and trying to catch and balance blocks that are falling from the sky. There are some new twists this year–to make your bar longer you have to raise a leg in the air. Also, the blocks come in different sizes, and they can even turn into ice or catch on fire (you need to kick a giant water drop to make it rain). Interestingly, I found the graphics of last year’s version much clearer than this year’s, especially when it tells you where to drop your blocks. This one gets a 3 of 5 for workout intensity and a 5 of 5 for fun.
3) Run the World: Ah, finally something brand new. This is an activity where you “run in place”. But there’s a twist. You can choose either New York or London and basically “run through” the city from landmark to landmark. When I first heard about this one, I was excited–I thought it might be a virtual reality experience where you could literally run through actual streets (if this sounds outlandish, remember that the technology is already there with Google Maps and Bing Maps, not to mention driving games that have mapped out those cities’ streets). But in reality, the experience was much less impressive than that. You basically just run in place on a blank white screen following a line of stylized “yellow dots” on the road. As you run, you do see buildings to your left and right, but they’re just generic grey outlines. As you…
Played this last night for about an hour. Instead of a real work out I jumped around from activity to activity. I like all of the new classes they’ve added. I used Cardio Boxing a lot last game,(lost 45 pounds) and can see I’ll be using the Hip Hop and Latin dancing often too.
The look and feel of this game is jazzed up a lot. The sterile white work out room is replaced by an environment that differs with what you’re doing and at least in the classes, it changes as you progress. For example, cardio boxing is plain room with a flat floor when you start, but as you progress, punching bags drop from the ceiling, the ring pops up around you, etc. They’re only decorations -you cannot interact with them- but its visually stimulating. That said, I found the stimulation a little distracting and missed a few moves!
The menu system is different, but not worse or better than what the first game had. I liked the titles of things previously. The titles were more descriptive to me, (Cardio Boxing Silver Part 1 Versus Cardio Boxing Learn it!) but I assume I’ll get used to the new naming system.
I don’t get how the initiatives feature works. When you start it, it asks you some questions about your fitness goals then highlights some exercises with flags and suggests a frequency and length of workouts. It told me to workout 30 minutes, twice a week for 4 weeks. But then I was lost. Am I supposed to pick and choose flagged items that add up to 30 minutes? I wish it would just launch 30 minutes of activities one after the other, but maybe I am missing a button.
I liked how the time and calorie info was presented in the previous version more. In this version instead of square on, it’s shown in a front to back perspective that was hard for my old eyes to read at a glance. Also missed is the easy to find “how-many-calories-did-I-burn-today” number. If its in the game other than online in the Yourshape center, then I can’t find it.
But overall, this game is everything its predecessor was and even more. The amount of content is overwhelming at the moment, and I had NO issues with it reading my movements. The differences are something a new player won’t care about, and a original YSFE player will get used to.
=== 3 days later ===I *think* the program works by just following the flags and doing any combination of the exercises to get to the total number of minutes over all by the end of the time period. For example, it said 30 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks –so thats 2 X 30 X 4 = 240 minutes. I did 27 minutes Thursday and 37 minutes today, so it now if you go back into where the program is set up it shows 64 minutes out of the 240 = about 25% (can’t remember the exact number it showed me.) I’d prefer it tell me EXACTLY what to do, because for example, I will probably lean heavily on the cardio (easier for me) and ignore the arm strength training (harder for me) because its so flexible and doesn’t force me!
But I finally tried the boot camp! WOW is all I can say, the first one yesterday was very, very tough but I made it through. Today’s was REALLY challenging and I had to give up on several places (5 or 6 times) and then start up again after 20 seconds of rest. I was sweating like crazy, and def breathing hard, so I know its working me out hard. Can’t wait to keep doing it till I can make it through without breaking a sweat!