The latest in a spate of Kinect fitness games, UFC Personal Trainer offers something different, claiming on its box art to be “The ultimate workout for the ultimate UFC body”. To a degree I am inclined to agree with them.
When you boot the game up you’re prompted to enter your age, weight, height and whether or not you’ll be using equipment during the fitness routines. After this you’re required to take a fitness test so the game can adjust itself. The idea behind this was to make the game accessible for people of all fitness levels. Unsurprisingly I was put in the beginner category.
It was however during this fitness test that the game, and/or Kinect, let me down a bit. I haven’t been able to test whether or not this was due to needed a bigger play space, but at one point I paused doing the sit-ups momentarily and the counter kept going regardless of the fact I was not moving.
That aside, once you’re past the fitness test you have the option to pick various activities; fitness routines, ‘games’ or setting up a fitness regime. This last element I thought was pretty good, as you are able to pick whether you want to improve your skill, build strength, or lose weight and then pick a time frame of either 30 or 60 days.
Once you’ve picked what you’re doing you’re near enough thrown in. Starting with warm ups one of the UFC instructors takes you though about 5 minutes of warm-ups before you get stuck in. The first program I was taking only lasted 15 minutes but it certainly felt like longer. This can only be a good thing however if you think about it, after all, what is the point in a fitness type game if you don’t ‘feel the burn’ so to speak.
The instructors themselves are good. Now, as I don’t know a whole lot about the UFC outside of watching it now and again I don’t know the significance of the people involved, but I have been told they are some of the leading guys in the sport.
Aside of the trainer talking you through the routines and encouraging you, you have a ‘live action’ trainer video pop up now and again. One in particular stuck with me, as he was saying that sure, you can cheat, but you’re only cheating yourself. This in particular I thought was a good move on the developer’s part; it’s encouraging in its own way. Either way it has convinced me to keep at the game.
Apart from the earlier issue with the Kinect sensor during the fitness test the responsiveness of the game to your actions seems to be pretty spot on, certainly an improvement on games such as Your Shape. The game also makes use of the voice command system, however again I had problems with this until I was practically shouting.
The game itself has made an interesting move in the fact that it is also marketed to women, possibly a no-brainer considering the popularity of other fitness games with the female market. When contrasted with a game such as Zumba, which is marketed almost entirely at women, apart from the obvious differences of one being a dedicated workout and the other about dancing, I can see advantages to both.
However the differences with how you play both games come into play in the fact that with Zumba you don’t really notice you’re working out, as you’re too busy trying to follow what the instructor is doing, while with UFC you are very aware that you are in a fitness game environment. Neither of these are negatives, it just means that you can choose what type of game to play depending on how you feel you will work best with.
If I had a negative to say about UFC Personal Trainer it would be that, unsurprisingly, it does not compare to a resistance workout. Throwing punches into thin air feels oddly pathetic if you know the feeling of punching a pad. Similarly, having done kickboxing in the past, kicking and meeting no resistance felt odd. What I would say is that if you are into MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) then take the classes in person, but back them up with this game in the comfort of your own home.
UFC Personal Trainer, while not quite the real deal, is very close to being so. You will, if you stick to the program, feel the effects of the intensive work outs. If you’re not hurting a bit then you’re probably not working hard enough.