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 UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System Review

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Join date : 2011-06-25

PostSubject: UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System Review   03.07.11 15:22



When you think of the UFC, what do you think of? I think mixed martial
arts and mats covered in blood. Now I also think of Kinect and
PlayStation Move, thanks to UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System.
Motion gaming has been a popular avenue for interactive fitness ever
since DanceDanceRevolution proved that nerds love to sweat. UFC Personal
Trainer combines the UFC brand with support from the National Academy
of Sports Medicine (NASM). It takes fitness seriously, and I like that,
because I'm serious about my health.


It's clear that a lot of planning went into UFC Personal Trainer. It's
clean, well-organized, and the inclusion of real UFC trainers and the
presence of the NASM legitimizes the exercises. But there are a lot of
problems that come along with this game on both the Xbox 360 and
PlayStation 3 platforms. It's certainly not the "ultimate fitness
system," and a lot of the technical issues kept me from properly
enjoying my workout. To its credit, though, it did get me sweating.


When you're ready to get fit with UFC Personal Trainer, you have a few
options. You can rock a pre-made workout with one of three trainers:
Mark DellaGrotte, Greg Jackson, or Javier Mendez. These workouts are
made up of several sets of individual exercises, bookended by a warm-up
and cool-down. Or, you're free to design your own workout and choose the
exercises you desire. These workouts can be saved and enjoyed later
whenever you feel the need to bulk up.




There are also several activities to do if you're up for something more
"gamey." The main attraction is Hit the Mitts, where you follow guide
arrows and execute a bunch of punches, knees, and kicks. It's physical,
but also gives you immediate satisfaction with visual feedback and a
points tally.


If you're feeling adventurous and equally motivated, UFC Personal
Trainer offers 30 and 60 day programs designed to organize your workouts
and help you keep track of your progress. I appreciate this option, as
physical fitness is a long journey and it's always great to get help
along the way.


With UFC branding, the NASM support, and modern motion devices, you'd
think UFC Personal Trainer was on the road to victory. I thought so
myself when I first started playing and quickly worked up a sweat from
punching the air with vigor. But there are many puzzling problems here
that contradict the hard work that went into UFC Personal Trainer. Chief
among them is the sound.


In a game of digital coaching, sound is critical. This is about giving
you a personal trainer to work with, so that trainer needs to be an
organic, helpful ally in your quest for better health. In UFC Personal
Trainer, the characters are more like bots with short term memory loss.
They all have the same script, rarely change up their commentary, and
will often repeat the same line multiple times in one set. In fact, one
trainer said "We're priming the body for a great workout" twice in a
row.


This is a serious issue for me. If I'm going to exercise with a personal
trainer, I want valuable feedback, not repetitive, unrelated
one-liners. I might be failing an exercise and the trainer is telling me
to keep up the great work. There was a massive disconnect between that
character and my routine. This was especially true when I completed 47
reps out of 30 in half the time I was originally allotted. I was proud,
until my digital trainer told me to do better next time. That doesn't
sound like the right feedback for that situation. Also, it hurt my
feelings.





There are other moments in UFC Personal Trainer that feel out-of-place
in an otherwise clean, well-organized package. During warm-ups, for
example, you'll finish a stretch and then stand there, staring at the
silent trainer for 15 seconds. It's awkward. Why am I wasting 15 seconds
of every stretch standing around, inactive? And speaking of warm-ups
and cool-downs, why is there only one of each? I don't always want to
start a workout with arm circles.


If you can ignore the mind-numbing commentary of the trainers and you're
serious about following the routines, you can work up a real sweat with
UFC Personal Trainer; I have several damp t-shirts as indisputable
evidence of this. The routines are better if you have at least some
experience with the included exercises, because your trainer doesn't
correct your form and you're in real danger of hyperextending a joint
during striking exercises. So if you're getting into it, be careful.


The Kinect version is the clear winner between the two platforms, even
if the tech isn't perfect. Most of the upper body routines work well,
but groundwork -- like sit-ups -- is unreliable. Kinect would lose sight
of me even if I was in full view of the sensor, which can kill the
momentum of your workout. When things are running smoothly, however, UFC
Personal Trainer Kinect is a handy tool for tracking your reps and
getting an estimate of the calories you've burned.



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