PS3 Review – EA Sports Active 2.0

Fitness video games seem to be gaining popularity across video game platforms, and the PlayStation 3 is no exception. While the original EA Sports Active was exclusive to the Nintendo Wii, the sequel came out on all the consoles. How does it hold it up on the PS3?

EA Sports Active 2 is the next title in the fitness game craze. Coming with its own brand new form of motion-sensing technology EA Sports Active 2 aims to be incredibly immersive, and with a heart-rate monitor and its own resistance band, be a complete workout experience. And with several different programs to gauge yourself, over 70 different exercises, and an online community to track your progress, EA Sports Active 2 definitely looks to be an addition to your lifestyle, rather than just a game that will be shelved three weeks after playing.

EA Sports Active 2 starts as most fitness games do. Create an avatar for yourself, enter your height and weight, level of physical fitness, typical fair. Then you can choose to start either a three-week or a nine week exercise program. Then comes, what I believe to be, the second most difficult part in setting up a new workout regimen: the schedule. It’s incredibly simple just assign four out of the seven days of the week to work out and three days to rest, but mentally it’s a large milestone. You don’t have to wrestle with the thought of “yes” or “no” if you are working out, just check the calendar. The most intimidating thing about trying to start getting in shape is just to start. If you decide to go out and buy EA Sports Active 2 you’ve probably made that first step, but it’s a big one.

The actual sessions themselves last about 23 minutes with 24 to 26 exercises per time. Even after playing the game for an entire three-week program, I still encountered new exercises every time I booted up the game. You choose your male or female personal trainer and they teach how to do new exercises and motivate you along the way. Your avatar on-screen does the moving relative to your actions and the trainer tells you if you are doing them well or how you could improve. Whether it is running, cardio boxing, or strength training, there are right ways and wrong ways to do everything. I can say with confidence that, while I know I am out of shape, EA Sports Active 2 did not kick my butt. You will end up sweating at the end of every session, but I never felt like I was unable to finish a round.

Unfortunately, a lot of the exercises require the user to take the initiative. The motion-sensing technology that comes with the game’s arm and leg bands seem to react more on quick gesture-based motions rather than a true one-to-one action, as with the PlayStation Move. There are actually a few exercises that completely run on their own without the player moving at all. In one respect, implementation of the PlayStation Move would be more accurate but it would cut out a significantly large amount of potential buyers. By including everything you need to start playing the game right in the box, it is a lot safer marketing decision and more accessible to people who are less familiar with the gaming platform.

After an entire three-week session with EA Sports Active 2 start to finish, I can’t tell you if I’ve lost any weight. Not because the game isn’t effective – I just don’t have a scale. But I can tell you that the game definitely makes you feel better about yourself and provides an adequate platform to start a workout program. The only thing is, as with starting any new program, motivation is the key. It is the most difficult thing about starting a new workout regimen. Going to the gym, especially without anyone else to go to can be incredibly daunting. I enjoy actually working out to the game by myself because I’d be embarrassed to go to the gym. Plus, while it’s nothing unusual, the inclusion of Trophies in the game (since all PS3 games are required to have them) is a strangely satisfying and compelling reason to play the game. Maybe it’ll help you as it’s helped me, because my addiction to the ethereal accolades has gotten me to play the game. But maybe that’s a good reason as to why EA Sports Active 2 can help you out where nothing has before.

EA Sports Active 2 is a great way to start a new workout program. The game is extremely easy to navigate and provides an excellent platform to bring in people who are nervous about working out. While the motion controls that come with the game aren’t exactly the best, if you really work at the exercises, you could theoretically follow along without even needing them. EA Sports Active 2 isn’t designed to make you change pant sizes overnight or make you into a bodybuilder, but it does make you aware of your own fitness and create a more active lifestyle.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Excellent way to start a workout and scheduling is key

+ Workouts really do make you feel energetic

– Motion Control is incredibly fickle

8 out of 10