Review: EA Sports Active 2

Get a better home workout with your Wii with the improved EA Sports Active 2.

EA Sports Active 2
Electronic Arts, Inc.

EA Sports Active 2 corrects the biggest problem I had with its predecessor, EA Sports Active, and adds new, useful features too. If you like a customizable workout with lots of workout options and stat tracking, this exergame could work for you. While it has been discontinued by the company, you can buy it on Amazon.

I reviewed the Nintendo Wii edition of EA Sports Active. It is also available for Xbox Kinect and Sony Playstation.

The game disc comes with a resistance band, wearable heart rate monitor and wireless motion sensors. A USB receiver (included) and online game hub allow for tracking and sharing of workout data. This updated version of the game includes 70 new exercises and fitness activities, including:

  • Cardio: mountain biking, sprinting, step aerobics (with or without balance board)
  • Upper body fitness exercises: push-ups, seated rows, tricep extensions
  • Lower body fitness exercises: sumo squats, reverse lunges, stride jumps
  • Sports-inspired activities: basketball, boxing, soccer

EA Sports Active 2 - Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Hands-free exercises allow for easier use of resistance band, or ability to switch to hand weights
  • Workouts are challenging and customizable
  • On-screen calorie counter and heart-rate monitor give instant feedback
  • More exercises to work abs/core

Cons

  • Wii remote may automatically shut off, interrupting the workout
  • Motion sensors must be placed carefully to ensure accurate tracking
  • Some exercises are high-impact (so they can be loud, and hard on the knees)

Review - EA Sports Active 2 for Nintendo Wii

This improved version of EA Sports Active addresses the biggest problem I had with the first version: It was difficult to hold the Wii controller while also using the resistance band that came with the game.

Plus, the thigh strap that held the Wii nunchuck (used to track leg movements) had a tendency to slide down the leg during a workout.

The new game comes with an improved leg strap. eliminating the need for the nunchuck. This strap is lighter and smaller, and stays in place better. The game also now comes with a forearm strap that contains a heart-rate monitor and tracks upper body movements. This means you only need the Wiimote for certain exercises. During several workouts, I used the Wiimote so infrequently that it shut down, causing an error message on the screen. It's easily cleared, but slightly annoying since it interrupts the flow of the workout. I also found that I had to experiment with my position relative to the TV/Wii receiver during some exercises. If I wasn't in the right spot, my onscreen avatar would slow down and I wouldn't receive credit for my hard work.

Despite those quibbles, I prefer this version of the game. The addition of the heart rate monitor is a welcome one, and its on-screen display is useful, clear, and motivating.

You see an instant readout of your current heart rate, plus a small bar graph that helps interpret that rate (heart healthy zone, peak performance zone, and so on). You can easily import your profile and data from EA Sports Active 1 and EA Sports Active More Workouts.

EA Sports Active 2 includes dozens of exercises and activities, more than 70 of which are new to this release. I counted 19 different kinds of squats (yes, I felt them the next day too). There are more exercises designed to work the core, and some fun new sports-based activities, like mountain boarding. that's skateboarding on a mountain trail—more squats! There are also more exercises that target the body's core in this edition, which I appreciated.

For fun, you can change your onscreen avatar's body type, skin and hair color, clothing and accessories. The background scenery remains relatively unchanged throughout the workout, except for events that take place on the basketball court, soccer field, etc. While powering through a long running segment or series of upper-body reps, I would have loved a little distraction like a bird flying by or a fish jumping in the nearby stream. Apparently I've been spoiled by the goofy fun of Wii Fit!

That detail, though, points out the big difference between EA Sports Active 2 and most other exergames. This one's really about working out. It's not necessarily fun (although I enjoy pretending I can block a jump shot or head a soccer ball), but you do get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. Use preset workouts or design your own series, and choose the level of intensity that's right for you.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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