A good exercise experience despite missing some key features.
- Lots of exercise options available
- Includes routines with and without weights
- Has a handful of fun games
- Has both yoga and kickboxing segments
- Can set a lot of personalization options based on the Kinect being able to actually detect your body
- Tracks overall calories, progress in specific activities, etc.
- Interface is clean and looks good
- Has both girl and guy trainers, which is appreciated
- Cheaper than a gym membership
- Kinect tracking is pretty awful, often mis-registering me when I'm doing exercises correctly
- Lack of a daily schedule is a huge oversight
- While there are a lot of exercises/techniques, the overall package seems a bit bare-bones
- As expected, an exercise routine like this is pretty much straight cardio, and only cardio
- Switching players/logins requires a total reboot of the game
- While it has fun games, there are only four, which really isn't enough
- Locks a good 1/4 of the game behind DLC (including the best one: BOLLYWOOD!)
- Takes a long time going through a routine in order to "advance" far enough for new moves
- Calorie tracker seems inaccurate
- U-Play "features" are stupid and just lock content out for no reason, until you unlock them after playing for a few minutes. Why bother?
- They pulled the "yearly" thing and released a 2012 edition already. Thanks, jerks.
|Yeah, I'm reviewing an exercise game. Deal with it.|
The whole "motion controls" thing brought something else to the table other than just waggle and fake sports: the rise of exercise games. Again, pioneered by Nintendo with Wii Fit, they capitalized on all the moms who bought the Wii because it was a fad by offering the ability to exercise in your own home, with a video game! What a novel concept! We've never done this before!
Anyway, as one would expect, the Kinect leapt on this like a spidermonkey. It's often stated that that majority of Kinect games are either dancing games or exercise games, and they aren't lying: there are tons of these, most horrible, some decent, some good. This is one of the good ones.
Also, this review is probably going to be a little...different than the others. It's hard to judge this based on "gameplay," or whatever, since it's basically just a tool to get in shape. Since I have little to no experience regarding going to a gym (I did it a bit in High School...and gained no muscle at all because my body hates looking anything besides anorexic), my arguments might be moot points. But I said I'd review every Kinect game I owned, so that's what I'm doing.
I was actually pretty intrigued when they showed off Your Shape at E3 a few years back. After a wash of crappy looking Kinect stuff, this and Dance Central where the two games that really looked like they'd work well on the system. I was right about Dance Central, and while Your Shape is certainly a decent exercise tool, problems with the Kinect integration lead to a handful of obnoxious problems (which is probably why they made a 2012 version so fast).
|I got some weights just for this dumb "game."|
Your Shape is pretty much a "game" that makes you do a bunch of cardio exercises. The difference is that, unlike every other Kinect game that is secretly an exercise program disguised as a game, this is an actual exercise program disguised as an exercise program. The first thing that happens is it has you put your arms and legs out like that Da Vinci sketch of the man, and it magically scans you and tells you your height, arm length, etc. That's actually pretty cool, and kind of creepy. You have to tell it your weight, though. So much for future technology.
Then it asks you what you want to do with the program, which is actually totally redundant, since unless you say you are post-pregnant it always recommends the same things. If you are a guy, it recommends toning and the weight exercises. If you are a girl, it recommends cardio and stuff to battle butt/leg cellulite. If you are post-pregnant, it tells you to stop playing video games and take care of your newborn...just kidding, it tells you to do its "post-pregnant" routine (which I did, suck on that, game! It's just another butt/leg cardio thing with a few more ab workouts). Again, this is pretty much pointless, since after you go through their stupid thing all that changes is which exercises say "recommended" on them, but it lets you pick any ones you want. So...way to waste my time, Your Shape.
|Surgeon's General Warning: Don't punch blocks in real life unless you are Bruce Lee.|
After that it pretty much lets you do whatever you want. There's no daily program it sets up for you, no real progress indication minus saying how many calories you've burned or exercises you've done, nothing. The lack of a daily schedule was a massive oversight in my opinion. I'm bad enough at remembering to do this (which is why I haven't booted it up in months), but if it gave me a schedule where it varied exercises then I'd probably at least try and do it every day. That's kind of the point of an exercise program, right? To make you feel guilty when you don't do it? Heck, even Brain Age on the DS literally told you that you were getting stupider if you forgot to boot it up for a week. Why can't Your Shape have some sort of thing like that?
Anyway, you are pretty much on your own. You can pick from about a dozen activities (slim pickings) which are pretty much all cardio, with or without weights. The "dude" exercises do have some lifts with dumbells and stuff which is pretty decent, though the 30 minute one very nearly killed me. When you are doing the exercises, it does a decent job of giving you breaks, though I think it might give too many breaks. It pauses between each individual move to "give you a break" (which I'm pretty sure is actually the game loading), as well as giving you a longer break after a set of four or five. In my limited exercise experience, I at least know it's important to keep your heart rate up when doing cardio, so these mini breaks during loads are actually detrimental. I'm fine with the big break after, but the should have figured this out.
|Your Shape now knows everything about your body. And just posted it to Facebook.|
Complaints aside, there are a lot of moves and it is actually a pretty decent workout. The "Advanced" workouts are nothing to scoff at (like the one that nearly killed me), while the easy ones are good for warming up. It's certainly better than an exercise DVD would be, seeing as it puts both you and your trainer up on the screen (then you mimic the trainer, just likeDance Central only without kickin tunes), and away you go. Another note: no custom music. The stupid elevator music actually has rhythm in time with the moves, so it won't let you put a custom soundtrack. Which is another important part of going to the gym that this game ignored.
While the exercises are great and all, the game has one really big problem: the Kinect doesn't do a good job picking up your moves. While Dance Central somehow manages to pick up you doing some crazy things pretty accurately, Your Shape isn't so lucky. It scores you on individual parts of moves (which is a good idea in theory), but the problem is it has a lot of trouble actually realizing you are doing them right. If you wear baggy clothes (or any clothes at all...yes, I tested this. Sorry for that mental image) the game just assumes you are doing it wrong. I understand this was a release game, but it's already hard enough to get me off my couch and exercising. Having the game say I'm doing moves wrong when I'm clearlydoing them right is not helping me want to come back and exercise later.
|Be one with the giraffes.|
In addition to the regular exercises, the game also has some more specific routines as well as four games. The routines are actually my favorite part: it has both a kick-boxing class and a sort of yoga/zen thing. It also has about three more things (Bollywood!) but they are locked as DLC. Thanks, Ubisoft. Anyway, I like these activities because 1. They are hard and have a sort of progressive point, as well as don't do the stupid "pause between each move" thing, and 2. They are tiered, meaning you have to do the early ones to unlock the harder ones. All the moves should have been like this. The yoga stuff is also pretty decent, though again...you really need the game to have good detection in order to pull some of these moves off correctly, and the game just doesn't have it.
There are four games, of which two of them are actually strenuous, and two are stupid. Hula-hoop is easily the hardest, where you sway around with an imaginary hula-hoop until your abs are killing you. Box smash is where you punch blocks as fast as you can (sometimes with kicks), which is a decent exercise though not great. Light Race is pretty much crappy DDR, except way lower key. And the Stack 'Em Up game has you "holding" a tray that boxes are being put on, and you...tip it into holes for points. I don't see how that one's supposed to exercise you, unless holding your hands above your head is difficult for some reason.
|This "game" will mess you up. So exhausting.|
The game also looks fantastic, with a really clean interface and menus that are almost as good as Dance Central's. There isn't much to say beyond that. I'm glad it doesn't show my actual body and instead makes me an orange blob...I don't think I could take watching my actual self doing stupid exercise things.
Anyway, I'm getting too long winded for an exercise game, so I'll cut to the end. Your Shape was the best fitness game on the Kinect for a long while (yeah, the others were pretty horrible), but I'm going to assume the second one is better? The lack of the daily schedule really kills it for me, and the fact the Kinect thing doesn't work great is also a downer. That being said, there is a lot here, and if you have the self-motivation and the patience to do it on your own you really can get a good exercise routine out of it, with the bonus features the Kinect allows.
You can get the game new for about $20, which I'd say is a fair price, though keep in mind the new version (which I know nothing about) is currently available. It certainly was the best Kinect exercise game on the market for a long while, so if you want in on that go for it. But mine is currently gathering dust so...yeah. Hope you are motivated.
The problems make me want to give it a three out of five, but I certainly still recommend it if you are in the market for this kind of thing.
Plus Fitness Evolved reminds me of Combat Evolved, which reminds me of Halo, which makes me imagine a Haloexercise game where instead of punching blocks you punch aliens. Why didn't that make that?
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