I’ll start on positive notes.
First off, UFC Trainer does offer a very nice presentation for tracking your progress by inputting your current weight and height to use as a starting point; this is something all other workout programs offer but it is nice to know that there is capacity to see your results as time goes by.
The voice commands, though impossible to use if you have your television/speaker volume at a decent level, are intuitive and easy to use once your television is set at a very low volume level.
The exercises ARE great, despite how I’m walking away with a more negatively weighed opinion of this app, credit still must be given where it’s due. These workout regimens are effective and will leave you feeling how you should after a thorough exercise session, there is just a few small, but crippling, details that kneecap them from being terrific exercise routines.
The user interface is basic Kinect but it’s clean and simple to navigate.
This game freezes CONSTANTLY. Roughly every three to four minutes the game freezes for about 30 seconds, this is annoying, it takes away from your momentum as you get rolling through a set, and once it un-freezes the game has trouble seeing you for a few seconds, wasting precious exercise time.
To remedy games freezing, usually software has an option to be installed on your 360’s hard drive so that it wil run more smoothly and efficiently, this is not the case with UFC Trainer. I thought I could easily fix the freezing issues by just installing the software, but for the first time in my life I’ve found an Xbox 360 game that can not be installed, at least not at the time of this review. It blows my mind that a game with so many lag issues does not have any form of installation feature.
The on-screen trainer does the workouts with you, but completely out of sync to what the directions demand of you. While doing side lunges to the right, my trainer would be standing up just finishing a lunge to the left is one example of how I would at times lose my focus on the exercises. Doesn’t help that the character model of the player also lags behind quite severely, moving several seconds after you have already completed the motion.
The movements also aren’t recognized quite often, as lunges, especially forward lunges, are very hit and miss for the game to recognize the movements, and squats are equally suspect; I found myself growing so frustrated during one routine, that relied heavily on these particular exercises, that I angrily shut off my 360 and started writing this review.
Yes, that’s right: The first game in my entire life that I’ve rage-quit and it was a freaking exercise program.
What really ruined the element of exercise the most for me was the very poor motion recognition and the lack of indicators to let the player know if they’re not getting the most out of their exercises. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved presented this brilliantly with on-screen visualizations on your screen-presentation of yourself, showing you where to tighten and hone your body to optimize your workout. UFC Trainer offers no such thing and throws a few arrows at you, and if it decides you didn’t do it to their standards, or just didn’t see you do it at all, then it just says you’re failing. Many instances had me doing the exercise and the motion sensors just not seeing it, and other times I just stood still while my virtual trainer praised me saying I’m nailing the exercise perfectly and the screen’s meters flashing a happy green to encourage me with the knowledge that I’m doing exactly what the game expected of me.
Much like The Biggest Loser, this game will sell due to its name and the developers clearly relied heavily on that. This app selling is not a bad thing, but the frightening possibility does loom that, due to the brand popularity, the developers won’t feel a need to fix the issues that hinder it.
At the time of writing this review, I can’t justify this as a full retail app. Honestly this could have easily been a downloadable add-on for Your Shape and then the workouts would have flowed smoothly and correctly and given fans of the UFC a workout they could really get into, not a freezing and disinterested attempt at workout software.
I had a negative experience with this app, despite the legitimacy of these exercises and regimens. The good news is that all these flaws I’ve stated are very easy to be fixed with a patch update. This game is a victim of under-testing, but with more product testing and customer feedback the flaws that currently leave this workout app as a crippled mess can recreate it into a very solid piece of exercise software that belongs in the upper echelons of workout apps.
Until then, however, I’ll be sticking with Your Shape.