Move It Mama Monday! EA Sports Active 2 – A Fantastic Game with a Fatal Flaw!

Huzzah! I have lost 6 lbs since Christmas. Thanks to time spent on the Hubster’s elliptical machine and the LiveStrong calorie counter app on my iPad, I’ve been able to finally shift those few extra pounds. I’d like to lose another four in the next month or two. We’ll see if I can make that happen.

But since I have lost 6 lbs., I decided to reward myself. I didn’t want to buy anything food related, which would have defeated the purpose of losing weight to begin with, and I didn’t want to buy new clothes because frankly, my closet is full of cool t-shirts and jeans that I already like and I have no need for anything really fancy. So what to get?

Well, I just happened to be in Target earlier last week and I just happened to see they had EA Sports Active 2 on sale! A game that normally costs $100 was available for $60! I was really itching to try the new EASA, but hadn’t taken the plunge because of the price, so when I found it on sale, I snatched it up immediately. It was the perfect way to reward myself, I thought. It’s something I wanted and it would help me continue to stay fit.

Then I got the game home and tried it out. Can you say EPIC FAIL, boys and girls?

Here’s the deal. EASA 2 comes with 2 sensors and a USB receiver. One of the sensors goes on your left forearm and tracks your heart rate as well as movement for that arm. The other sensor goes on the right thigh, in lieu of the nunchuk which is how EASA previously tracked leg movements. The USB receiver gets plugged into the back of the Wii console. All very simple to set up. I had everything ready to go in just a few minutes and was ready to start up the game. I made my profile, browsed through my workout options, and picked a program to try. Then I ran into a big problem

The right leg sensor kept switching off.

Every time the Wii console lost contact with the leg sensor, it would stop the entire game and wait for me to fix the problem. Fixing it usually consisted of jiggling the sensor until it lit up again. Then I had to select a button on the screen to continue the workout. Not really a big deal if this only happens once or twice, but this happened to me 7-8 times during the workout, and that got damned annoying real fast.

So I decided maybe the problem was the batteries in the leg sensor were drained and I dug up some rechargables and made sure they were fully charged and tried them the next day.

Well day 2 was even worse than day 1!! I couldn’t even get through the second exercise! The leg sensor dropped out a dozen times in a row during the warm ups. It was so bad I finally quit the session. And when I did that, EASA 2 said, “You need to try harder!” because I only managed to burn 5 calories thanks to the stupid leg sensor.

Try harder?! Why don’t you try harder, ass-hat?!

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. So anyway, I went online to see if anybody else had encountered this problem and discovered that yes indeedy! Lots of people have had problems with the leg sensor on EASA 2. Suggestions for trouble shooting included changing the batteries in the sensor, unplugging and replugging in the USB receiver while the Wii console is off, “re-bonding” the sensors in the settings section of the game, or returning the game to the store and asking for a replacement.

I did the first two items on the list above and this morning tried playing the game again. I got farther through before I started having problems, and was able to actually complete the workout, but once again the leg sensor just kept dropping out. It caused me to lose a race in the game because it dropped out so frequently during that event, and it drove me nuts during mountain climbers later on. But I did manage to finish the workout.

When I was done, I went into the setting section of EASA 2 and “re-bonded” the sensors. Rebonding essentially means asking the Wii to look for the sensors again and re-register them. I don’t recall bonding the sensors the first time I played the game, so maybe that’s part of the problem. I won’t be able to say for certain until I try playing the game again.

But in any event, this is a major, MAJOR flaw in an otherwise fantastic game. And I really hate this because the new EASA 2 has some new features that I really like. For starters, I don’t have to hunt through the list of workout programs anymore or put together one of my own when I work out. Instead, I can simply tell EASA 2 what I want to focus on and how long and hard I want to work out and it will generate a program for me. And if I’m not keen on that particular program, I can simply hit the “regenerate” button and it will devise a different program. This is pure genius, in my opinion. I hate trying to figure out what to do on my own, and I hate having to hunt through a lengthy list to figure out what program I want to do that day. It’s much easier to simply say, “I want to do arms today for 20-25 minutes, and I want a medium level workout,” and then just watch that happen.

Another thing I like is heart rate monitor. The leg sensor may be complete crap, but the heart rate monitor is great! The game shows my heart rate while I play and lets me know what effort zone I’m in. This info is then used to calculate how many calories I burn while I work out. Brilliant! And the heart rate measurement looks pretty damn accurate to me, too.

Warm up and cool down has also changed. Now instead of being bored out of my skull with the same routine at the beginning and end of every workout, EASA 2 calls up a couple of exercises and stretches from a list and adds those to the workout. EASA More Workouts always used the same routine each time, which drove me nuts, but EASA 2 gives me more variety, and that’s important to me when I work out.

Finally, the journal is still there in EASA 2, although I don’t intend to use it since I use Live Strong to track my eating and workout habits. And there’s a 3-week and 9-week challenge that users can try. I won’t be doing either of those since they both require 4 days a week to complete and I’m not committing that much time each week to just one game. I mean, face it. I swim, I do karate, I use the elliptical machine, I do a bit of yoga… I got plenty going on. What I need is the occassional strength workout, which the new EASA 2 can give me thanks to it’s “Generate workout” function.

But only so long as that leg sensor works.

Here’s my final thoughts. Don’t spend $100 on the game. While the game is fantastic, the leg sensor is a huge no-go in my book. Had I known what a total failure the leg sensor would be, I wouldn’t even have spent $60 on the game. $30, maybe, but only if I had some guarantee that the leg sensor would only crap out occassionally during the game and not screw up an entire workout.

So fix this leg sensor problem, EA! You almost have the perfect game, but that leg sensor is holding you back. Fix it and I’ll love you enough to continue to buy future versions of EASA. Ignore it and I’ll spend my hard-earned money elsewhere, I promise.

Oh, and one more thing, EA? For the next version, add in a yoga program. It really is the only other thing you’re missing to be perfect. But fix that leg sensor before you do it!

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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