New Toy

New Toy

I have a new toy! Therefore, a rare post. We’ll see if this becomes a habit again 😛

Anyway, being completely unsusceptible to advertising I totally didn’t decide I needed UFC Personal Trainer after seeing it during the UFC for the last Ultimate Fighter. Okay, maybe I did. But look!

The Kinect system motion sensor doesn’t need any peripherals: no remote, no balance board, no leg straps. The game is available on the Wii and the PSP, too, but the idea of ditching all that won out. It takes a little getting used to, but you move your hand to control the cursor and select items on the screen, or you can use voice commands when they’re available.

It’s a little touchy about distance, though. They say 6 – 8 feet, but I found with the level changes required for the personal trainer that six didn’t work. This was a bit of an issue, as I had to rearrange my furniture if I didn’t want to move my coach every day. As it is, it works most of the time, but I still have to figure out where it wants me to stand for some of the exercises. For example, Sumo Squats seems to want me to be about a foot taller than I am before it’ll acknowledge that I’ve stood back up. V Lifts also seems to be a little flaky. Today it lost me, sort of. I disappeared from the octagon and the arrows that indicate movement went blue but still seemed to be reading something. Of course, given the next circuit registered three bonus reps when I was lying on my back doing nothing, I’m not sure that means anything.

The bonus reps is a neat mechanic. Each exercise has a time limit, but also a target rep count. If you meet the rep count before the time limit runs out, the trainer asks you to push yourself by doing a few more. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t 🙂 But I think it’s a good motivating tactic.

There are three trainers: Greg Jackson, Mark Dellagrotte, and Javier Mendez. They share many of the exercises, but there are some trainer-specific ones. I think the only ones I’ve hit are some of Mark Dellagrotte’s combos. It’s real striking in my game-related workout, which is a lot of fun.

So far I’ve done a few of the basic workouts, and started a 30 Day Program yesterday. The workouts so far have been warm up, three to five exercises, and then cool down. I’m doing the building endurance program, which seems to have a bit of variation. It has the warm up and the cool down, and both days has started with hit the mitts, followed by four to five exercises repeated. The first day it went through three rounds. Today it went two rounds, followed by the striking routines. I expect it’ll take me a little while to learn the sensor quirks of each exercise, if I ever do. I still have no idea which motion the bicycle crunches are actually counting, and I’ve done those ones about four times.

Today I discovered the jump rope exercise puts a virtual rope on the screen when you move your arms. That’s a small thing, but I loved it, and it even made me laugh right after getting pissed off at the weird sensor quirk on the V lifts. I expect I’ll continue to enjoy jump rope far more than I otherwise would have, just for that.

The warm ups and the cool downs are the same every day and with every trainer. I’m not sure if I like that or not, but it’s probably because I hate mountain climbers and they’re in the warm up, which means I have to do them every day 😛

Since I did go with the XBox version, it means it uses the XBox achievement system. I have already looked ahead to see what achievements I can earn in the future. Since I’m hoping to get the one for a complete 30 Day program, I should be able to get the one for a fill week of workouts on the way. I am more than geeky enough to be motivated by pixels on the screen and points that seem to have no purpose 🙂

I usually end my play session too exhausted to really look through the other parts of the game, but you can just come in and play hit the mitts on its own (also tire flip and I think free striking). I’ve only done that once, and in addition to the three trainers you can pick from a number of UFC fighters for your training partner. I can’t remember who all is there, just that I didn’t see GPS 🙁 I hold out hope that they’ll add more fighters as download-able content in the future.

I also hope game updates will give them more patter. I don’t think video games will ever get away from the issue of repeating the same lines within a short period of time, but a little more variation would be good. (I would also love to see logic like not saying “Your heart must be pumping now” after only doing the stand on one leg balance warm up, but that’s just me.) I can’t decide if I want them to start chewing me out when I stop, as opposed to reaching the end and asking me what happened, though. I think it’s probably best if the Kinect continues to not recognize rude gestures, though. (In my defence, those were at the sensor when it wasn’t working :D)

Wow, this was long and far more rambling than I expected. Anyway, so far, I love this. Even just at the beginner level, it’s engaging, and it’s more in line with my interests than the games I’ve tried so far. I’m hoping that’ll keep me going past the point where I usually stop.

You know, that and the achievements 🙂

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