Your Shape: Fitness Evolved – In Depth Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Microsoft made the promise that with Kinect for the Xbox 360, you would get off the couch and run, jump, dodge and play, all without the tether of a physical controller. And they have most definitely delivered on that promise.
While there are plenty of casual games that have launched with Kinect, there has also been a number of health oriented games released as well. Bringing the possibilities that one day, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) will be bustling with fitter, trimmer and more toned up geeks of the industry. Wreaking havoc on the booth babes and dudes who were once immune to the charms of the portly hordes that attended in years past.
OK, well that’s a little bit overboard. But you get the gist.
One such game is Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. A game created in partnership with Men’s and Women’s Health magazines to design a series of workout regiments to suit your general needs in order to drop a few pounds, tone up, or just be healthier in general.
To call this a game is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, there are fun activities that you can partake in. An online progress tracker where you can track and compare your progress to your calorie burning cohorts. And of course, the familiar “bleep-bloop” associated with unlocking achievements such as Calorie Score 10,000 (Burn 10,000 calories). However, this is not a game for slouches. You’re “playing” to feel some burn. And burn you will!
Part I – Calibration
Calibration takes all of about five minutes. It scans your body for weight and measurements, asking you questions about your gender, age, and approximate weight, as well as how active you are. Once it has this data, it sends you on your way for an evaluation.
Part II – Evaluation
Once the calibration is completed, you go through an evaluation. This is part tutorial, part workout as it teaches you the basics of how the game works. You learn to keep in rhythm with your instructor while going through some basic excercises designed to get your blood pumping and muscles burning. The process is about 15-20 minutes long, and oh man do you feel the burn! If you’re a “go to the gym and lift some weights” kinda guy like me, you are in for a world of hurt! These exercises are very thorough and I felt quite a bit of burn in some muscles that are hardly worked out. The tops of my legs in particular were quite sore after this.
After your evaluation is complete, it will ask you what your goals are. It’ll ask you if you’re looking to trim down, tone up, or feel better overall. Once complete, it will give you a selection of workout regiments, noting recommended workouts based on your answers and performance in the evaluation as well as the opportunity to pick between a male or female instructor.
Part III – The Mechanics
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved has an exceptionally intuitive interface that in some cases, excels over the UI developed for the Kinect Hub. You still make your choices by moving your hand over them, however, it seems to move quicker and more fluidly than waiting for the little progress circle on the Hub. The play space is well laid out for you with a boundary so you know exactly where you are in Your Shape’s field of view, and it dissipates your form if you move outside of the boundary.
The user interface is very simple and lays out all of the information that you need in a very easy to read and find way. If you start to lose rhythm with the trainer, your boundary color turns from green to gray and the link between your playspace and the instructors is broken. In the upper right corner, you’ll see the name of the exercise that you’re performing, as well as tips to maximize the workout. If the game sees that you are complying with these extra steps (kicking your legs higher, moving your arms a certain way, keeping a wide stance, etc.), a higher accomplishment percentage is awarded to you at the end of each segment.
Graphically, the game is just drop dead gorgeous. Very simplistic in its design with a lot of white space, it actually seems to take queues from the Animus sequences in Assassin’s Creed. When loading the menus, it has an interactive environment with different colored balls that can be kicked around which gives you something to do for the attention deficient (read: me) while you wait. It can actually capture you in full color and build a limited 3D image of you, but it seems to keep your virtual self more of an orange outline for most of the time. This is likely to reduce the processing needed to do a full color representation of yourself.
For those of you who have heard “horror stories” of lag with Kinect, I find no evidence of that in this game either. Although I believe lag is more to do with lighting and having your Kinect properly set up (using the Kinect Tuner) as opposed to issues with the hardware itself. Your Shape tracks your moves brilliantly, and the only times that I’ve gone out of sync with the instructor were due to me legitimately not paying attention. Which brings me to my next point, the instructor.
Ubi has worked very hard on making the instructor seem as human as possible. Their movements aren’t robotic, but rather very smooth and fluid as a human movement would be. This also means however that the instructor will from time to time change its tempo, meaning you’d really better be paying attention to the instructor like you would in real life so that you don’t fall out of sync.
The Workout Continues
Continued support for the game is already underway, as four new DLC (downloadable content) additions have been announced. The first two of which have already been released.
The first is a, “Toned Body Program“, designed to, “srengthen all your muscles and get a firmer body”. With the second being a, “Cardio Boxing Platinum – a new advanced level of the Cardio-Boxing class” according to the presser.
The next two, to be released soon will include a “New Year New You” program “to get back in shape after Xmas and New Year’s celebrations”, which is something I will for sure need. And a “Dance Workout: Bollywood” regiment which is touted as “a high impact dance workout using popular Bollywood dance moves.” Which sounds quite…interesting.
With so many options and ways to be able to play the game, I could easily go on for another thousand words. But what I will say is this, if you are looking for a good way to burn off a few extra holiday pounds, have fun, and keep yourself honest with others to encourage (or in the case of my friends, berate) you, this is most definitely a game to grab. The easy interface and loads of features make it easy for anyone to pick up and play, and before you know it, you’re actually feeling quite good about yourself.
I give this game a 5.0/5.0 rating.
Source Material: Ubisoft
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