UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System Review
|REVIEWS - VIDEOGAME REVIEWS|
An effective training system, but really one for those who don't need it...
Format: Xbox with Kinect, Nintendo Wii and PS3 Move.
Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
If you are new to UFC, allow me to educate - it’s a mixture of boxing and martial arts fighting, with fitness workouts, based on the programme designed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) in America.
Within the name is a group of people that, for some reason, aspire to push themselves to perfection. They look to the body beautiful and they pursue the ultimate in physical performance, dedicating their lives to either being a world-class athlete or just keeping their bodies in perfect shape. There are other still that wish to train their minds and bodies to works as a single efficient fighting machine – to create a perfect balance between dexterity, control and power, and ultimately a skilled fighter.
I am... not one of those. I belong to those of a different arena. Where the mind, keyboard and mouse are one. Yes my friends... my Kung Fu is strong – in Quake, Unreal (GOTY of course), Doom and Puzzle Bobble. When it comes to physical conditioning however, I’m more Kung Fu Panda meets Homer Simpson now – or so my teenage kids lovingly tell me. Yes I feel for Panda there; the bit where he’s trying to get up that really long flight of stairs – I’ve walked up those stairs to great wall... it kills the thighs, I can tell you.
However, jokes aside, UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System is a serious workout. I am telling you know – when it says you need to consult your doctor before undertaking this, do it. I am not joking. You better be prepared; make sure you have good blood pressure, you’re not pregnant and do not - for the love of God, do not - attempt to do this in a small space or pissed.
Wii fit this is not. There are no Weeble shaped little characters, except for me. They are mean cage fighters and your flesh is their plaything. This is a serious training regime. It will break you if you are not careful. Having played this for a few times now, I was instantly able to see the value of this release - its fitness regime is as brutal as it is rewarding.
But, before I get to excited, let’s look at the interface and breakdown the features.
Just do it
The use of the Kinect is this games greatest strength...and, at the same time, its greatest weakness. The user interface is very easy to learn and it quickly recognises the user. In my case, I’m the only fatty in my family, so it had no problem working out who I was. Furthermore, the interface is slick and well put together, meaning that minimalist amounts of time were spent faffing around, allowing you to...well...get on with it.
UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System needs a lot of space. In fact, it felt like it needed a gym rather than a front room. I found I had to keep adjusting the Kinect to find me on the floor. No, I mean I was supposed to be on the floor and it couldn’t find me – yes I know – how could it loose a great lump like me?
The camera needs so much space for this game, even for a Kinect title. I had noticed in the marketing videos that the Kinect is nestled at the base of the TV - which I worked out when pausing the video - so be prepared to move it from your normal position if you don’t already have it setup to be just under your TV.
I found ‘hitting the mitts’ was excellent, and there are a range of UFC cage fighters to go up against and they get harder. However, be warned - as with all the programmes and workouts, a proper warm up and warm down should always be undertaken prior to and after training. Saying that, you do seem to get a decent opportunity to take a long breath between either sparing or workouts, and the game also seems to leave you waiting forever for your trainer. I don’t know if that’s the AI taking pity on me or if it’s got ‘issues’.
Sparring is simple at first and it’s easy. The trainer always gives you plenty of encouragement. The trainer always gives you plenty of encouragement.The trainer always gives you plenty of encouragement - this is no typo. Instead, it is me highlighting one of games biggest issues; the vocabulary logic of the trainers is extremely repetitive and, to be quite blunt, its a real pain in the ass. But perhaps you’re supposed to hear it through the haze of adrenaline, helping you push through the pain and give your trainer that extra set. For me, however, it was just a big irritation.
Issues aside, punching either the fixed speed bag is remarkably enjoyable. As long as you get your timing and control correct, the game is very responsive and reacts well if you miss the punch bag. The large bags are great. You can punch and kick and go mental with the free form mode...great stress relief.
Get with the programme
I found with my busy lifestyle I just couldn’t keep up the programme. This is not the fault of the game – it’s my problem, and one I'd have to amend to fully judge the training. There is a programme monitor to keep track of how well you are doing and there are plenty of online and social neatwork features to encourage your friends.
UFC: Personal trainer can be activated with voice commands. ‘Start Programme’ for example. Well, after yelling this I felt exhausted. Is it me, the machine or the software? Perhaps a combination of all three, but either way, I personally had issues with how well this really works.
UFC: Personal Trainer is essentially a well put together application, with a few annoying flaws that get in the way of what is otherwise a very good production. It’s designed for those who want to keep up their fitness and get to grips with the latest technology that takes home fitness to a new level.
I would say that if you’re a couch potato and thinking this is a great way to get fit, think again. Go to the gym, go swimming and walking – do that and then comeback. This is really for someone who is already fit and wants to get fitter. The problem with this approach could be that someone who really wants to build up their fitness will want to have a real person and will be pumping their bodies in the gym – theirs, not the trainers that is.
See, the trailer and the two fine specimens of humanity will either put you off or inspire you. I would say if you are prepared to stick at UFC trainer it will reward you. That’s the last thing I will say. I have noticed that I am standing up straighter and the tummy is feeling tighter. I feel good. Perhaps I’ll get my mitts on and take on Rachael Leah.
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