By j3ffro919 3 Comments
Seems like these are the top two fitness games for Kinect, and I've got a fair bit of experience with both. I've owned YSFE for much longer, but I've now owned BLUW long enough to get a good feel for the game, here's my impression of both and how they actually operate in the game.
When I first picked up a Kinect around Christmas time I bought YS:FE at the same time, and honestly thought it was great. The menu system is VERY easy, and intuitive, and the training is great. It's got fitness games, fitness classes, then personal training, all based on different parts of the body that you want to target. There are several DLC programs, some free stuff you can grab by registering a U-play account as well. When you do a class or game the onscreen avatar is a decently high res image of you, with a color shading tint overlaid over ...you. When you do a personal training session you get the decently high res image of you, with natural coloring, kind of a trip watching yourself do stuff - ultimately a very cool demonstration of Kinect technology. My main gripe with the game, however, it repetitiveness I know, I know, it's a fitness game, of course it's repetitive...but not to this degree. When you start a personal training program you are supposed to do it 12 times, but it's the EXACT SAME PROGRAM EVERY TIME. No variation of exercises whatsoever, not even mixing up the order things are in, just the same thing time after time. As a result I'd never get past 6 or 7 "classes" before I'd move onto a different program. The programs are off all kinds of different lengths, but they are set in stone with what they are. If your normal class is 32 minutes and you want to do more, you can either do it twice, but there's no way to make that one longer.
I bought Biggest Loser a few months ago when I got fed up with doing the same exercises over and over. First impressions were not good, as good as the menu system is in YS:FE, the BL menus are a higher magnitude of suck. I've played more than a handful of Kinect games, I know how to keep my hand still, and yet the cursor dances around. Actually, there's SO many gripes I have about the menu system it literally almost ruins the game for me. That being said, once you are in the game and training I think it's a vastly superior fitness experience to its competition. First off, when you start a program you have options, 4, 8, or 12 weeks, then how many times a week, 2-6, and then how long you want each session to last from less than 20 minutes up to 60 minutes at 10 minute increments. Then you select what you want to focus on, weight loss, strength training, agilty, etc. as well as what part of the body you want to focus on. Lastly you pick the intensity level from beginning to intermediate to challenging to hard to instense. It also do a full body scan, which is a little reminiscent of the TSA's latest toy, it estimates your size, but is a little off. Not really pertinent to anything, but kind of a cool demonstration of Kinect tech. Once you get into the program my favorite part is that that it creates your schedule. A week at a time the game tells you what you'll be doing each day. For example right now I'm doing a 5 day a week program. Yesterday was cross training, so was today, but both workouts were completely different. Maybe 4 or 5 exercises overlapped between them, but out of ~40 or so that's not bad. Besides jumping jacks should be a regular thing :D . Anyway, tomorrow is boxing, Saturday is off, then Sunday is a challenge and a weigh in (it is the Biggest Loser after all, you have to beat random named computer opponents to stay in). Yoga gets in the mix usually about once a week so it's a pretty complete regimen. I've only done weight loss stuff, so I can't speak to weight training, but I know you can tell it what fitness equipment you have (balance ball, resistance bands, etc) and it will incorporate it into your routines. It also does a lot of ground work, push ups, planks, leg lifts, stuff like that, I ended up buying a yoga mat because I'm spending so much time on the ground. There are also occasional video diaries it asks you to record, kind of self motivational stuff ("Hey three months from now Jeff, see how fat you used to be?" was my first, can't take things TOO seriously), as well as daily tasks (use the stairs, take a walk, park at the far end of the parking lot, etc) as well healthy recipes that are pretty decent. My fiance and I eat pretty healthy as is, so we haven't put many of the recipes into play, but if you don't know where to start it is a great resource. If you can slug your way through the shitty menu system. It's hard to put it into words how bad they are, you almost have to experience it to understand.
Both games will definitely kick your ass a bit, all depending on how much you put into it. Starting with YSFE I thought it was great, I'd usually work up a decent glisten, but I'd just get so damned bored I couldn't force myself to do it more than two or three times a week. Even still I'd usually be a bit sore the day after a work out and the games are decently fun. Not Borderlands or Gears of War fun, but a nice change. Unfortunately playing a Tetris-ish balancing game with an invisible bar doesn't really burn many calories, and lets face it, if I want to play a game for fun I'll throw Forza or something else in. Changing over to Biggest Loser it's night and day. The menus are ROUGH to get through, has essentially made it so I try not to change settings or do the other stuff. That being said I've never had a workout like some of these workouts. I used to work out with a personal trainer twice a week (went from 260 to 215 in ~3 months), and I work up a sweat equivalent to those work outs. Even if there's no ground stuff I put my yoga mat down, because otherwise the sweat pools on the carpet. Not kidding. YSFE can get a mild sweat, Biggest Loser makes it pour out of me. What's more is that since every workout is different I've never gotten bored. Even now and then I've gotten angry (yes I've yelled obscenities at Digital Bob Harper and Digital Jillian Michaels, when I'm going as far as I can I'm GOING AS FAR AS I CAN) but I'm still dripping sweat and signing on the next day to do something different the next day.
Oh, and I'm constantly sore. But it's a good thing.
Ultimately YSFE is far more polished, and so much easier to use, but once you are actually exercising there is no comparison whatsoever - Biggest Loser is better. I'm curious what the second generation of Kinect games will bring, but for the first gen it's clear as day to me.
Oh, and I've got a gym membership to the gym around the corner. When I was playing YSFE I'd still go the gym regularly, but since buying Biggest Loser I haven't gone back. Since I'm primarily focusing on cardio there's not much the gym holds for me over Biggest Loser. Yes, I can do everything there, but I lack imagination in the gym and I've run more than enough (in the last year gone from from 12 minute mile on average to averaging a little under 8 minutes, my best is 7 flat). Do I think it's a gym replacement? Maybe, all depends on how often you follow it. I got off track when I went to Seattle for PAX, but if I was going to gym it would've been the same thing. I'm not saying it's going to certainly make you lose weight (diet is as big of a part as exercise) but I 100% believe the biggest part of getting in shape is showing up. Working out for 20 minutes a day is substantially better than not working out at all. Is an hour better? Of course, but not everyone can/is willing to do that.
/soapbox off :D