A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that EA Sports Active 2 is a physical fitness title that provides workouts and games to get you moving. This game comes on three different platforms (Wii, Xbox 360 using Kinect, and PlayStation 3) but no matter which system you use, it operates hands free. The game comes with a heart rate monitor, and allows you to track your progress over time. The Wii version can use the optional Wii Balance Board. While there are games to play that help you get active, this is really a virtual workout aid with exercises and routines to explore.
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What's it about?
Electronic Arts is back in the fitness game with its sequel EA SPORTS ACTIVE 2, which includes the software, a heart rate monitor, and depending on the version, motion sensors to wear on your body. As with other fitness games these days, you're working out with a virtual trainer who assess your form, gives you feedback, and lets you choose different workouts. The buzzword is \"Total Body Tracking,\" a 3-point wireless control system for complete freedom of movement: the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii versions ship with a wireless, motion-sensing leg strap (along with the heart rate monitor for the forearm), plus the Wii works with the Wii Balance Board once again. The Xbox 360 game supports the hands-free Kinect peripheral, so you can hold dumbbells to maximize the workout.
Is it any good?
EA Sports Active 2 is good, though it's somewhat similar to its predecessor. The additional accuracy and new exercises (now totaling about 70) still make this a good buy. Built into the left forearm strap, the heart rate monitor lets you see the intensity of your workouts as your heart rate is displayed onscreen while you exercise. There is also a summary of your heart rate for each workout. Also new is the ability to post your workout data online through automatic uploading; your password-protected profile can be just for your eyes or you can share your data with other users to set and meet group goals. Information includes burned calories, heart rate, workout time, what body zones you're concentrating on, and so on. There’s also a 9-week challenge designed by certified personal trainers, featuring progressively difficult exercises. While not as visually impressive as the other fitness games, you can expect a serious sweat with this game -- whether you prefer squats, lunges, and bicep curls or boxing, cycling, and shooting hoops.
Online interaction: There is an online component that lets you chart your progress and, if desired, share this data with friends and family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how our living rooms are being transformed into gyms. Do you prefer to work out with an interactive coach doing fun activities on a gaming system or in a gym?
Talk about how to decide which fitness game to invest in. There are exergaming titles like this one, as well as many others that help you get fit at home. Then there are active games that aren't about working out, such as Microsoft game Studios' Kinect Sports, Ubisoft's Dance Central, Namco Bandai's Active Life Explorer and Sony's Sports Champions. What kind of "active" games does your family prefer?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.