If you have the motivation, EA Sports Active will make you sweat
For anyone looking to experience an actual workout courtesy of their Wii, EA Sports Active offers the best opportunity to get off your couch and burn some calories, provided you're interested in doing so.
Right out of the box the focus of the game is on the 30-day challenge, a preset schedule of twenty training programs fittingly spread out over thirty days. Each workout takes between 15-30 minutes to complete (depending on your selected level of intensity) and does a pretty good job of switching up the exercise schedule each day to prevent repetition in the exercises.
The list of exercises is pretty comprehensive, and most of them are worthwhile. Traditional gym exercises like running in place, bicep curls, lunges, and squats are mixed in with exercises related to sports like basketball, boxing, and volleyball. The flow from one exercise to the next is pretty quick, and in most cases you'll be given a string of exercises that all work the same body part to increase the intensity. Particularly brutal are the jump-oriented exercises inline skating, jump squats, and jump lunges, which are sure to have you bent over in pain after completing a set of two or three of these in a row.
You have a choice of either a male or female personal trainer to provide words of encouragement and correction throughout your exercises. They do an effective job of keeping you moving through each rep even if the constant affirmations of "oh yeah!" and "you're doing your body a big favor" become annoying. There's also a soundtrack of generic pop, dance, latin, and rock tracks that play in the background. None of the tracks are particularly memorable, but they're also not terrible enough to become detrimental to the overall experience.
As with most motion control games, the accuracy of Active in recognizing your movements can be hit or miss. Exercises track repetitions through a variety of ways, though not all make the most logical sense when considering the exercise they're attached to, especially those that are based on changing the direction the wiimote is pointing and the sport-based exercises which register success based on the speed of your reps without concern for the extent of your follow-through.
Active comes boxed with two accessories: a leg strap to assist in lower body exercises, and a resistance band for upper body exercises. The leg strap is functional; simply slide in the nunchuck when directed and the game will be able to register when your legs are bending and flexing . The resistance band is less successful for anyone looking for some serious resistance from their upper body exercises, and you'll need to pick up a stiffer band of your own to really benefit from any upper body training.
How much you end up enjoying and benefiting from EA Sports Active is entirely dependent on how much interest you have in working out in your living room. Much more involved than a traditional workout video, Active does a respectable job of tracking your movements and keeping you moving through each activity that if you stick to the program you can't help but break a sweat.