Review: UFC Personal Trainer for Kinect

Since the Kinect was released on the XBOX 360 in November last year, there have been an abundance of workout and fitness games released from The Biggest Loser to Dance Central. The XBOX 360 was once viewed as a platform for serious gamers, with a majority of titles initially having high ratings, something which Microsoft where eager to change. Since the Kinect was launched, the fitness games have taken over, giving the message to parents that it’s alright to let their child play on the XBOXbecause they are keeping fit as well.

Arguably, although given a 5+ guideline rating, UFC Personal Trainer isn’t a game that’s for the whole family like Kinect Sports. UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is really quite tough and has been made specifically for players to get in shape. There are a variety of exercises to do, but if you haven’t worked out for a while, then it’s going to be really tough to start with. It’s time to start working on your push-ups.

To begin with, you have to fill in some small details about yourself – age, weight and height – so the game is made custom to you. The only disadvantage of this is that if you don’t know your weight or height, then the personal aspect of game is lost, so it is best to make sure you give the correct details. A simple test starts the game after you’ve given your details and counts how many sit-ups, press-ups and star-jumps you can do within an allocated time. The meaning behind this being that when in the future you can go back and try and beat your score because you have, in theory, got much better and fitter. This was quite reminiscent of the popular Brain Training on the Nintendo DS, where you could go back and re-take the starter test once you have used the game more in a bid to beat your previous score.

The great thing about UFC Personal Trainer is what is hinted in the title – it can feel like you do have a personal trainer. You can choose who trains you for certain sections and exercises, and the instructors are not condescending in the slightest. A bonus is the over 30-minutes of video footage from the actual trainers giving you introductions to certain exercises. These are quite useful but not compulsory, as you only have to say ‘Trainer, skip video’ and the training will begin without the introduction. This is not like watching one of those workout DVD’s you see advertised after Christmas time. These trainers know their stuff and without paying hundreds of dollars for their expertise; you get it in this game instead.

This MCMBuzz writer getting a UFC workout…

What makes this different from the other fitness games on the market for the Kinect or for other consoles, is the fact that it isn’t gender specific. Many of the ‘get-fit-quick’ games available on the Kinect, Wii or PlayStation Move, are targeted at a female audience but UFC Personal Trainer has targeted its audience for both genders by having serious workouts that aren’t to be taken lightly. This isn’t a social fitness game like Kinect Sports and others, but is a very personal game (hence the Personal Trainer). This could appeal to people who are incredibly busy and can’t set aside time to go to the gym, or can’t justify spending the money on having membership to one.

The game is available on the PS3 and will soon be out on the Wii. However, the Kinect works so well with this game with the sensor picking you up easily and you not having to hold anything in your hands as you work out. All you need is yourself, and you have the added option of using your own weights to enhance the workout sessions.

For those who are dubious about the Kinect, here is a game that works well and demonstrates the potential of future Kinect games and is one of the best games on the Kinect right now. Without a doubt a vast majority of Kinect games are suitable for a younger audience, and could seem too childlike but THQ have raised the level of the quality of Kinect games and in doing so utilises the Kinect to its fullest abilities. In fitness terms it is ideal for those who want to get in shape with a few hard workouts to watch the flab slip away all the while without scaring your neighbours with the sight of you in tight and bright Spandex.

UFC Personal Trainer is available to buy in stores now on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, with a Nintendo Wii version due 15/07/2011

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