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By Thomas McKinnon 15 December 2009

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If you are looking to buy a Wii fitness game to actually get fit, then EA Sports Active More Workouts is probably your best option. Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus are great fun, they get you sweating a little and manage to pull you off the couch, if only for a meter. But EA’s Active series seems to be more serious about fitness and exercise.

In fact it’s a little less like a game and a lot more like an instructional video, complete with an onscreen fitness instructor to get you motivated. As the sequel to EA’s fairly successful Active, which was released just a few months ago, the game has an expansion pack vibe to it, quite literally adding a few more workouts to the core offering found in Active; 35 new exercises to be precise. These exercises are wrapped up in a Six-Week Challenge to get you fit.

Set-up


The new Six-Week Challenge adds two more weeks to the original’s month long challenge, and includes 24 pre-set workouts with a grand total of 89 exercises.

Getting ready for the challenge is rather easy. You will be prompted to create a new profile (or pull over an existing profile from Active), entering personal details about your weight, height and body type. You can then customise your onscreen character by personalising their fitness garb. The intensity of your workouts and your workout calendar can also be customised. Lastly, you can choose to use the Wii Balance Board for activities like weekly weigh-ins and exercises like press ups, or choose not to use it at all.

Preparation

Unlike the original, there are warm-up and cool-down routines before and after each workout. While this is far more sensible than jumping straight into a workout, the routines are repetitive and boring. You may find yourself skipping them from the second workout.

Something EA gets right is ensuring that you are properly prepared for each workout. There is a demonstration video before each workout, offering you step-by-step instructions on how each exercise is performed. If you find these instructions to be a little insulting to your intelligence (or you just prefer to wing it), they can be skipped.

You also get instructions on your control setup before each exercise. The game makes use of the Wiimote and the nunchuck, as well as a leg-strap and resistance cord accessories. The leg strap holds the nunchuck in place for lower-body exercises, while the resistance cord is used for exercises like bicep curls.

The leg strap works well and fits securely, but the resistance cord is flimsy and is only likely to offer a 10 year old girl adequate resistance training. EA should offer a few cords or cords of varying intensity in the accessory pack in future. Unfortunately the accessories don’t come packaged with the game, so there is an extra expense involved in purchasing the game if you don’t already own them.

Exercises

More so than in the first, Active More Workouts focuses on building your core. There are some intense abdominal and full body workouts that will leave you sore the next day; which is a good thing.

The obstacle course workouts in particular are enjoyable. They combine a set of activities like lunges, waterskiing, skipping, paddle surfing and boxing into a single event, requiring that you run from one activity to the next along the course.

With EA having updated the look and theme of the game, you are now on a tropical island, the game is also more visually appealing as you move through courses or do stand-alone exercises. With your instructor egging you on or helping set the pace of your workout, you also feel a little more comfortable that you are following the instructions correctly. The instructor does get a little wearing after awhile though, with motivational comments rather repetitive.

EA provide a huge variety of exercises that work most of your body over the course of the challenge. While we haven’t yet completed the challenge, we feel it’s safe to say you won’t get completely bored with the content before the six weeks are up.

We did find that the Wii struggled to pickup the nunchuck during exercises, especially when it is placed in the leg strap during lower-body exercises. It’s not a major issue, but watching your avatar go left when you’re going right can get a little frustrating.

Additional content

EA have tried to add a little more substance to the game with a light version of Bob Greene’s (best known as Oprah’s personal trainer) Best Life Diet book. The recipes and health tips do round off the experience nicely, giving the game a more holistic outlook on fitness than EA Sports Active. Some players will find value in this additional content, while others will simply ignore it.

Conclusion

EA Sports Active More Workouts is a good, stand-alone follow up to EA Sports Active. As a better rounded game than the original and what appears to be a more serious fitness title than the Wii Fit series, it’s worth a look. The fact that the accessories don’t come packaged with the game is a little annoying and the lack of any modes beyond the Six-Week Challenge limiting. We would also have liked to see some use of the Wii MotionPlus in the game, but there was none.

EA Sports Active More Workouts is the best fitness title we’ve played on the Wii to date as far as workouts go, and with a recommended retail price of R399 it is reasonably priced. Bear in mind that the accessory pack will still cost you approximately R130.

PROS
Huge number of exercises on offer. The Six-Week Challenge keeps you motivated.
CONS
The resistance cords are flimsy and the videos repetitive.
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