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EA Sports Active 2 and EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp: Early Impressions

Now available: Review of EA Sports Active 2 for the Wii.

As those of you who follow the Top 10 Wii Fitness Games list know, EA Sports Active shot up to #1 on the list as the best Wii fitness game the day it was first released. It was bumped by Wii Fit for a short while, but quickly regained its position when the follow-up EA Sports Active More Workouts was released.

It’s been there ever since. I’m not sure if it’s so much that EA Sports Active was that timeless a title as it is that other Wii game publishers just started to phone it in. Titles like Your Shape and Jillian Michaels had a good opportunity to leapfrog EA Sports Active as the top exercise game, but they ultimately failed because their technology didn’t work. For all the slick celebrities and music and other bells and whistles the publishers stuff in, the bottom line is: does it work? Do I spend more time thinking about actual exercise and less time thinking about why the Wii isn’t registering my moves?
When you’re #1, it’s sometimes tough to improve. But I’m happy to say that from all early indications, EA Sports has done just that with its upcoming new titles EA Sports Active 2 (available for Wii, PS3, and Xbox) and EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp (available only on Wii).
I had the pleasure of getting a “sneak peek” look at both these titles yesterday. I’ll give you the skinny (that pun never gets old, does it? :P)
EA Sports Active 2:
One of the biggest frustrations about the first EA Sports Active came down to the Wii controls. The leg strap for the Wii nunchuk was frustrating in that it always seemed to come undone, the nunchuk would always fall out, or you’d always get tangled up in the wires.
EA took matters into its own hands by introducing brand new controllers. Now, I was a bit skeptical at first. After all, when Ubisoft added its “motion control camera” to Your Shape, turns out if was a just a cheap Webcam that didn’t work. So I wondered: are these “new controllers” just a gimmick from EA?
After seeing it in action, I’m convinced it’s for real. There are actually two new controllers that come bundled with the new EA Sports. The first is an arm strap with a small plastic box that monitors your heart rate (your pulse will be displayed continually at the top of the screen). The second is a leg strap with a small plastic box with an internal accelerometer, just like the Wii remote. That’s right, no more Wii nunchuk, no more wires needed.
EA Sports Active 2 new controllers
As I observed the demo, I was impressed. The controls immediately seemed much crisper and more responsive than the previous version. The activities also looked like a ton more fun. For a lot of the games, it’s not just doing reps but there’s real challenge. For example, in the basketball game, you’re jumping to hit jump shots, but you also need to time your release against a meter on the screen to score.
ea sports active 2 gameplay
There are also a great selection of 70 new exercises. The demos of Mountain Biking and Mountain Boarding looked like a ton of fun and a great workout. Looking forward to this one.
mountain boarding in ea sports active 2
EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp:
I got my first look at this yesterday and I have to say, this is officially the title I’m most looking forward to. It uses the same new controllers as EA Sports Active, but the whole game is centered around an NFL theme. It takes you through actual workouts designed by NFL strength and conditioning coaches. There are running drills, blocking drills, passing drills, and lots more. And while there are some exercises that are just repetitions of motions, there are others that do combine some really fun skills ¬†(in the game below, you need to timing the pass of your football perfectly to the on-screen cues, and you need to constantly move your feet to avoid getting “sacked”).
ea sports nfl training came passes
Another very cool feature of NFL Training Camp is that EA Sports took the assets of the Madden Football game they developed and incorporated it into this game. So you can choose your favorite NFL player to virtually work out alongside you. And exercise becomes a blast with two players, as they can compete with each other (EA mentioned to me that they asked NFL trainers what motivated their players in their training, and by far the #1 motivation was competition).
My thanks to Matt and Justin at EA for the sneak peek¬†(I think that was their names–my Blackberry crashed, so I wrote this all from memory). I am definitely looking forward to both. Both EA Sports Active 2 and EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp ship in November. These are going to be hot, so order yours early!

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Robin H.
    Oct 09, 2010 6:18 pm

    The game and the controllers looks interesting but is it worth $100. I have both EA Sports Active and More Workouts, they both are good but with the bugs and the crappy leg strap I’m on the fence.

  • Reply
    steve
    Oct 11, 2010 11:43 am

    I’ll be posting my full review in November, but from the early look I got it looks like the game will be well worth the $100.

    They did away completely with the awful leg strap (and with use of the nunchuk altogether), and replaced it their own controllers. In the demo I saw, it picked up the player’s movements perfectly.

    The other thing I’m looking forward to is that the games seem much more involved. While the first generation product didn’t offer many challenges in its activities, it looks like there will be some “video game” fun, both in terms of game play of certain activities, as well as the fact that you’ll be able to compete against friends or even strangers online.

    I’ll provide many more details after I have a chance to try it for myself, but I have a good feeling about this one, after a long, long drought of great exercise games. Stay tuned!

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