Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 Review

Despite the best attempts of Microsoft, the Kinect has so far been a flop in terms of gaming sales for Kinect-only experiences. There have really only been three titles that have attracted considerable attention of consumers and suitably so have all received sequels in 2011. Until Electronic Arts truly bring Kinect to big name titles such as Mass Effect 3 and Microsoft unveil some more exclusive titles we are stuck with dancing in Dance Central 2, various sports in Kinect Sports Season Two and getting fit in Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012. The latter is the title I will focus on in this review. When the Kinect launched it was really a battle between Your Shape and EA Sports Active 2 for the personal fitness title crown. The simplistic approach of Your Shape without any extra add-ons made it the favourite with consumers and have now allowed improvements to be made along with new content for those who still enjoy working out on a daily basis without the hassle of gyms.


Last years title went with the minimalistic approach seen with slick devices from Apple. White backgrounds with colours of shapes as well as a coloured outline of yourself instead of a dodgy avatar attempt worked a charm and made Your Shape a more serious game. Nothing would've been worse than living in a cartoon world with an Avatar flailing its arms everywhere while you try to burn calories. Your Shape 2012 has kept with the same concept but expanded it a bit further by adding in more set pieces. Working in a gym setting, you will now see dumbbells on the floor and other fitness equipment around the place. A more peaceful exercise however will have you outdoors in a zen-like environment full of trees, rocks and ponds to create a sense of calm. It doesn't go over the top but rather sets the scene perfectly.

There is an ambient musical score in place which like the previous game delivers a soothing sound. While it isn't much, it has a decent effort on your mindset for more relaxing exercises. I would've liked some more up tempo music available for higher intensity programs however. The fitness instructors will talk to you and explain what is going on, as well as giving slightly helpful instructions as to how you should improve. These are fairly basic things such as to keep up with the instructor or lift your arm up more, but they are do seem to help go from a good performance to a 'perfect' performance based on the tracking system.


Your Shape 2012 is merely an enhanced version of the original, but that is completely fine as the original worked perfectly. For months and months I slaved away with weights in my hand as I lost calories. Despite being quite fit and slim myself, this game was still handy as I felt myself getting fitter and improving over time. The best part about the Your Shape experience is exactly that, this game has something that will help every shape and sized body. People who want low intensity exercises will be at home in yoga while those who want to tone those abs can hop into a cardio session.

The game is set up by analyzing your body and asking a few questions to try and recommend programs suited towards your goals. Inevitably though the choice is yours which is good, I would hate for the game to accidentally think I wanted to lose some baby fat when in fact I was after a torturing session of push ups and bridges. Speaking of push ups, they are just one of many new exercises in this years title. The game has now gone to the floor and offers a number of exercises that are commonplace in gyms but unavailable in the first iteration. The Kinect needs to see you from side on to accurately track the movements and some head cringing to see the screen will be necessary, but you will get used to it over time.

Unlike a majority of single player games which I will commonly finish in anywhere between 5-10 hours, Your Shape is one of those titles which you will use for the entire year. After having a nice holiday I was unfit and hadn't used Your Shape 2011 for over a month. This was the perfect time to put Your Shape 2012 to use for this review. I picked up some similar cardio based programs from the last game to work my way through, completing various sessions per day until the program was complete. After 2 weeks I was feeling better after completing the sessions, I had more energy throughout the workout and could notice a difference in my VO2 Max. While the game tells me approximately how many calories I have burnt, that is irrelevant for me but a handy indicator for those who are conscious about their weight.


Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 has indeed envolved from its predecessor while still managing to keep the formula which made it successful in the first place. While the game isn't perfect and the Kinect without it's own processor means that we can't get completely accurate tracking of the body, it does a great job for what it's gone out to do. People will enjoy this game, it makes getting the gym experience simple in an easy to use manner within a persons home. The public nature and high costs of gym will turn people off going to them, but if you can pay $50 for a game to play for years then why not? If this game gets people off the couch and encourages them to participate in exercise where as they previously wouldn't then I see this game as a complete success.

Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6.5/10
Gameplay - 8.5/10
Overall - 7.5/10