UFC Personal Trainer
The UFC Personal Trainer game from XBox 360 sucks.
There, I've said it.
Ok, ok *grin* To be fair, it would be more accurate to say that UFCPT is not a good game for someone like myself.
When the Kinect was first announced and they showed that clearly bullshit demo trailer of all the stuff you could do with it, 90% of which doesn't even exist, I was really excited about the possibilities. I mean, come on, who wasn't? How wonderful to be able to interact with your games controller-less! To be recognized just by standing in front of the screen! To be able to do exercises without having to strap things on or hold controllers in unnatural positions! Awesome right? YEAH NO! What do we have? Crap games! Most of them exercise games. Seriously people, with all the possibilities Kinect technology presents, this the best you can do?
I have been dying for a good, realistic boxing game. Kind of like a Fight Night style game (even though EA probably won't bother - "It's a little bit too twitch-based, not to mention the fact that standing on your feet for three minutes and throwing punches is something that, believe it or not, might be beyond the fitness level of most gamers!" - Brian Hayes. Really Brian? Are you completely stupid? How ignorant are you? The success of many Kinect games PROVES gamers WANT to improve their fitness levels) where you can be a boxer, level up your character, train, do fights, etc. Not a pure exercise game, but more like a boxing simulator that plays like a game but where, obviously, you were also exercising quite hard while playing it. There are none. You figure boxing for the Kinect is a no brainer - the technology is perfect for it!,/p>
When UBI Soft released Fighters Uncaged, I snatched that shit up so fast it was ridiculous. It made so many deliciously sexy promises like skill sets, powerful combos, full body movements including hands, knees, headbutts, even ducking, extensive combo chaining, fighting strategy and weak points, and more! You know what we got? CRAP! The game didn't work. It couldn't recognize anything. Did the creators try to even play this game? It was a mess. I traded it in for Grand Slam Tennis which happens to be a most excellent and realistic tennis game for the Wii.
Ever since the epic fail of Fighters Uncaged and the clear lack of realistic boxing games, I have had to make due with pure exercise and fitness games for the Kinect of which there are many. They are all pretty much the same, just made by different companies, and having a few slight variations in the exercises offered. Given my agoraphobia, I rarely am able to go out, and until the Kinect it was hard to get myself as active as I needed to be for my own health. I certainly couldn't get out and go to the gym every day. Because of the variety of active games, I can get myself moving for several hours doing different things, but I really want some kind of boxing game that I can play controller-less for maximum realism and effectiveness.
While I was discussing my disappointment with the lack of boxing games and the general sad state of Kinect software with Laurence the other night, a commercial for UFCPT came on while we were watching American Ninja Warrior. I was immediately interested! Even though it was clearly just ANOTHER fitness game, there were elements of boxing and full fighting with hands, legs, and body movement being shown in the commercial. It took me about two seconds to order it from Amazon and long before it even arrived I started working in UFC exercising into my new Nazi schedule.
I knew not to get my hopes up and I was glad I didn't.
UFC IS literally just another fitness trainer, but with very few actual levels of fitness training available. It helps if you are a HUGE FAN of UFC because it's centered around you being able to appreciate seeing your favorite UFC fighters and trainers talking to you in their various accents and performing bad voice work. If you're not familiar with UFC (I am a little) then the game will seem pretty empty and devoid of anything unique. If you are a beginner with working out this is not the game for you. Even though there is a fitness test at the beginning, it's really just to determine how much of a loser you are. Being labeled as a "beginner" based on the results of your fitness test doesn't scale the game in any way, shape, or form. It still expects you to be able to do some really hardcore, intense exercises that require perfect form and for you to be in perfect shape. The game kind of assumes you're actually ready to train to be a UFC fighter, in which case would you be at home playing a fitness video game? Clearly not. There is no room for error or anything less than perfect form. For example, even though I listed my gender as female in the player setup, there is no way for me to do "chick pushups" as an alternative to the normal ones. I don't have the kind of upper body strength yet to be able to do full ones. The game refused to recognize anything I was doing until I was actually laying prone, with my legs stretched out behind me - not on my knees. Come on ... I'm a beginner. There needs to be some flexibility here.
Another thing I didn't like is the grading system. Look, I'm not a fucking carebear - I don't need to be pat on the head when I accomplish something I know I need to do for myself - but if I am just starting out (emphasize again the word BEGINNER) I don't need to be graded with an F for failing to do 80% of these impossible exercises. 80% for someone like me is still a great deal especially given my fitness level - which again the game already knows is BEGINNER. It doesn't care honestly ... I don't even know why they have designations for beginner, intermediate, and expert since the game clearly doesn't scale for them or allow you to.
Something that INSURES that you will often epically fail is of course the actual Kinect technology. It tells you to lay on the ground for certain exercises like situps but then you cannot get the Kinect to even see you half the time. There are supposed to be vocal commands that you can shout from the floor ... they don't register. I have to sit up to hit the "continue" option and then lay back down again. As with many games on Kinect, positioning is the key to success. Unless the exercises you're doing are ones that require you to stand up and face the TV, pretty much it's a toss up as to whether or not the camera will see you. This results in really inconsistent scoring and a lack of flow when you're trying to engage in rigorous exercise. Having to pause, shift, flail your hand wildly, readjust yourself, etc to make sure it's registering your movement is really frustrating. The timing for the speed bag, heavy bag, and other punching exercises is off by a few seconds - which is a common issue with the Kinect actually - so it makes getting a good rhythm on the speed bag really hard.
I have to be honest and say that given my various health issues, UFCPT is not the best trainer for me. Just listing the basics:
- scoliosis - which makes it hard for me to lay on my back and do exercises
- a titanium rod in my right leg from a car accident - which resulted in nerve damage and chronic pain that makes it hard for me to even walk some days and being semi-unstable on my feet.
- a torn acl injury that acts up a great deal even though it happened a year or so ago - which prevents me from being able to do heft jumping exercises like jumping jacks
- having HUGE FUCKING IRRITATINGLY PENDULOUS BREASTS - which require me to wear a sports bra made out of steel (or pull a Yentil) or else suffer from serious IMPACT DAMAGE when doing ANY kind of serious movement
Surprisingly tho, even with all these injuries and a few others, I have been able to play many other fitness games available for the Kinect including EA Active Fitness which is one of my favorites. Most games have some flexibility and scalability that allow for people to be able to modify the exercises according to their needs but still achieve results. UFC is like "FUCK YOU, YOU FAT, CRIPPLED LOSER! Get perfect or GO HOME!" It's not very encouraging and really gives you a crappy feeling when you have worked your fat, crippled ass off to match the trainers movements, the Kinect won't recognize your properly, and you are given an F. Even worse is when you completely fail and exercise and it forces you to do the whole set over from the beginning and the trainer says, "What are you DOING??" I'll you what I'm doing to Bronx-born, thick necked, marble mouthed muscle head ... I'm going back to Dance Masters.