Written on July 24, 2011
I’d tried EA Sports’ NFL Training Camp back when it was released, at least enough to write a review on Amazon and saw enough to name it one of the Top 10 Wii Exercise games (which it still is, especially for football fans). But I realized I never really wrote one of my in-depth reviews of it. So this first post about my next weight loss challenge will double as an official review of NFL Training Camp.
I started up NFL Training Camp for the first time in months. On the opening screen, I was greeted with energetic generic music, which thankfully is a little less burning-into-your-brain than the EA Sports Active jingle (I sometimes find myself humming the annoying “do, dodo dododo DO do DO” at random times in the day).
The NFL Training Camp menu looks a lot like the EA Sports Active 2 menu. You get Workouts (where you choose from preset workouts), Journal (where you can enter lifestyle information), and Locker Room (where you can view collections of “helmets” and “stickers” you collect, achievements, and videos). You can also choose 60 Day Challenge.
It first asks you if you want Easy (a bit of a challenge in your daily workout but nothing extreme), Medium (you want a moderate challenge), or Hard (You want an extreme challenge). As I’m supposed to lose 25 pounds, I went with Hard. We shall see if I live to regret it.
As with EA Sports Active, you choose 4 workout days and 3 rest days. As with EA Sports Active, I’m not happy that I can only pick days of the week and not customize my calendar with specific dates. I really hope this is something they’ll fix in EA Sports Active 3. I chose Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
To start out, you see a opening video of football players training, complete with the driving NFL Films music that we know and love. That puts you in the mood.
On the next screen, I could see where my “draft Projection” is. I’m told I’m the 224th overall pick in the 7th round of the draft. Ah, I get it. This is going to be a simulation of the NFL Scouting Combine, so I have 60 days to get myself in shape so I’ll be drafted in the first round. I like how they didn’t just slap football uniforms on EA Sports Active 2, but really seemed to customize this version for football fans. In fact, when you set up your profile, you can choose a jersey number, choose your favorite NFL team, AND choose a player from that team to be your “trainer”. The player doesn’t talk, of course, but a cartoon version of him will demonstrate all the exercises to you as a gruff NFL coach voice narrates.
This is where I got stuck. On the “60 Day Challenge” screen, I can choose to view Stats and a Calendar. But there was no button to start working out. It took me about 15 minutes to realize that the reason was that I set this up on Sunday, and my first workout day was scheduled for Monday. Urgh!! You’d at least think that EA Sports could leave a hint saying something like “You Have No Workout Scheduled for Today”. Seriously, game publishers, test your software before you release it.
There is an option to change the workout, but it’s only good starting the next week. So I quit out of the workout and started all over, choosing Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday.
This time, I was brought to a “Start Workout” button. I strapped on my trusty arm sensor and leg sensor (the exact same one used in EA Sports Active 2) and continued. The other day I purchased a replacement resistance band that offered a lot more resistance than the EA Sports provided one (which, after sitting idle for a few months) actually turned white and brittle).
I liked how, right away, it gave me the option to choose one player or two player. This was an improvement over EA Sports Active 2, where figuring out how to configure a two player workout is a royal pain.
The workout was similar to EA Sports Active. It’s a series of exercises that are put together to meet a goal for the day. You start with a series of a few warm up stretches, you end with cool-down exercises, and in between you have a lot of different kinds of exercises. A lot of the exercises are identical to EA Sports Active, such as planks, curls, and rows. My favorite exercise was a quarterback drill where you make a tossing motion of the Wii remote like a football and time your throw to hit a running receiver, doing foot fires all the time to slow down a sack clock. Another great exercise was the jogging exercise, but unlike the EA Sports Active version of jogging, this one times you and lets you try to beat your best time each time.
A lot of the great features of EA Sports Active 2 are carried over, such as heart rate monitoring, the ability to share your data online, and an exercise routine that’s put together by a professional trainer. Of course, a lot of the same annoyances are carried over. Even though you don’t need to use the Wii remote for many exercises, the whole screen will black out when the Wii remote shuts down to conserve battery power.
Like I said, I do like how it’s an immersive NFL experience. You can train with your favorite player, and with each exercise you do you earn points which can be used in the “Pro Shop” to outfit your player with NFL gear and even new stadiums.
Overall, I’d say NFL Training Camp is no better or worse than EA Sports Active 2 (which of course has been our top rated Wii fitness game for some time).
5 of 5 stars.