I remember when Kinect was just coming out and I asked my wife what games she wanted for it. She said the dancing one and the workout one. The workout one she was talking about was the first Your Shape Fitness Evolved title that went on to be the best (in my opinion) overall fitness title for Kinect at launch. Since then theres been a few fitness titles for Kinect and I think that the original Your Shape Fitness Evolved still holds up to the competition that came out later. A short time later and we now have Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, so lets delve in and see what improvements have been made and if it will work to help you tone up and lose weight.
As a side note, Ill be referring to Your Shape 2012 as a game simply for ease and because I feel it deserves that title with all the included activities and classes included within. Also, this doesnt feel daunting, like it does going to the gym, and theres even some minigame-like events like punching blocks and kicking soccer balls that never made me feel like I was purposely working out to lose weight. Ubisoft has clearly listened to user feedback from the first title and now has a ton of new exercises like push-ups and ground activities (like how UFC Personal Trainer pioneered), dancing, and even Yoga classes. Menus are much easier to navigate and the presentation remains distinct to its style. Youll still see yourself integrated into the workout world as youre placed into the game while breaking blocks, dancing, doing workouts, and more.
The main reason people dont stick with their workouts is usually the lack of motivation. This is my biggest obstacle as well, as exercising alone usually isnt all that entertaining. Most people usually fade away from a new workout after a few sessions simply because of this lack of motivation. I know I require inspiration to stay focused on a task like this, and Ubisoft has done what they can to try and supplement this hurdle. Youll have a coach, specific workout plans, and can even track and share your progress online with your friends. I had no problem trying new events and challenges each day and most of the time I didnt ever feel like I was purposely exercising (except those damn push-ups and crunches). People these days are much more health conscious and Your Shape 2012 is meant to be in addition to a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, not a complete alternative.
The first Your Shape suffered issues simply from being a very early title in the life cycle of Kinect. It would not always work properly or lose track of exactly what you were trying to do. Now it seems that Ubisoft has figured out the bugs and made it much more receptive to my quick movements more accurately. Now I can do all my activities without worrying if Kinect is going to track me properly, as I never really had an issue with it losing sight of my proper moves. Be prepared to move around some of your living room furniture though, as youll need quite a bit of space if you want to properly do every event and exercise, so apartment owners take notice. Your Shape 2012 now can track you with you on your side as you do sit-ups and push-ups to see your proper form, just like how UFC Personal Trainer did, though I felt it tracked much better than UFC did.
The menus are much easier and slicker to navigate as you hover your hand over your selection and then choosing by pushing your hand forward as if it was a button. Small change, but seemed more natural than just holding your hand over a selection like most other Kinect games do. When you finish an event youll have to punch the number of calories you just burned to continue. Again, a small detail, but it was fun to see myself in the game itself interacting in a real way.
The first option youll be given is if you want to be healthier, lose weight, and more options. From here it will tailor a specific workout for you and suggestions based on your choices (though you can deviate from the suggestions if you desire). You can workout for two minutes or as long as youre physically able to. This is something I really look for in a fitness game; the ability to customize my workouts, as not everyone is going to be able to do the same exercises at the same level. Choose to workout with a trainer or your own custom events stringed together. Following the program and trainer will definitely do the job of getting you on the correct path to fitness if you stick with it. From here you can replay any events or harder difficulties if youre inclined and able or even change your weight loss program into a bulk-up session or cardio. You can focus on one body area or have a completely rounded workout session; its completely up to you, which is fantastic and keeps things fresh.
In the Activity section, youll have a ton of different events to start your session. Warm Up has different options such as juggling a soccer ball with your feet, knees, and head, a hula-hoop warm up, kicking soccer balls into goals, and pumping a balloon up by flapping your arms up and down as you squat. These are labeled as warm ups, but they are vigorous and can make you break a sweat quite easily. Wall Breaker returns from the first game, Stack Em Up has you balancing a board on your raised arms as blocks fall down and fall off, Jump Rope, and Stomp It. Stomp it is a music based game where you need to step on the proper placement as the notes come to your feet. Its simple but fun and breaks up the workout monotony. Run The World is an activity thats simply a jogging in place motion, but what makes it interesting is that youll be running through famous cities if the world as if you were actually on the streets, all done in the Your Shape distinct visuals though.
If you want a more traditional exercise, then the Workout section is where youll find the body part specific events. Here you can choose to work on your arms, legs, health, abs, toning, back, glutes, cardio, and even sports prep for football and soccer. This is where you can focus on one area if you desire or can avoid specific sections completely if you dont need it.
The Classes section is where youll be able to join bootcamp, cardio box, participate in yoga, relax with zen energy, or even dance to african beats, hip hop, latin, and even Bollywood routines. All these events have difficulties and can give a much tougher workout than you would expect. Your overall calories are tracked and you even earn new colored belts for leveling up when hitting specific milestones for calories burned. Its an interesting system that actually gave a little more incentive to keep with it for a longer term.
Players can sign up on the Your Shape Center website, link their gamertag, and track your progress. From here you can share your results with your friends and family, link it to facebook, track your stats, see your calories burned, join global events and challenges, see your time played, events completed, average calories burned per hour, sessions, create goals, earn trophies, and even more. Its quite in depth for a free addition, and anyone interested in keeping tabs on their progress should definitely use this extra tool.
Im basing my opinion of the game on its workouts, motivation merits, and gaming activities more than anything else. The quality of the game and the exercises are top notch and will have you needing a towel in no time, provided you do the events properly. My only real negative for Your Shape 2012 is the blatant advertising for G series (Gatorade) products, as it puts a really bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). To unlock a bonus game, you need to hold up a bottle of the actual product to Kinect for it to scan and unlock (or use Uplay points), which is just another way for you to buy their product. Other than that, Your Shape also suffers the same problem that I mentioned in my UFC Personal Trainer review: Theres no real education or mention of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle outside of the game itself, it just assumes rather than instructs. If youre looking for a fun way to sweat without feeling like youre truly working out, then Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 is a safe choice that will keep you interested in coming back day after day.