Motions controls have brought forth a multitude of fitness games designed to inspire healthier living. UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System aims to take it to the next level with the legitimisation of the included exercises due to support from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as well as the UFC brand. It’s a healthy pedigree to be sure, but does it work?
UFC Personal Trainer starts off on the right foot. The well designed, crisp menu interface makes navigating via Kinect a breeze. After inputting some general information about yourself – weight, height, age and gender – You can choose from several options which kind of fitness experience you want to take part in. Mini games allow you to partake in a variety of striking exercises, aiming for the mitts of your trainer or against a punching bag, whilst one off exercises allow you to pick and choose what you want to do and in what order. You can even customise your own set of exercises from the dozens available to truly create your own workout, and then save it for use later on. The final mode allows you choose between a 30 or 60 day pre-designed fitness regime. This mode incorporates all the exercises and challenges you to increase your reps as you progress.
Initially the setup seems excellent. The options allow you to customise the experience to your hearts content, the mini games section is quick and effective as raising your heart rate and burning a few claries, and the pre-designed regimes are challenging but built around your input. The goal of ultimate fitness has seldom felt closer and the UFC branding is inspiring enough to encourage you to keep it up. Unfortunately the execution lets the title down considerably and threatens to undermine the otherwise impressive exercise setup.
Whilst three genuine UFC trainers take you under their wing, their scripts are exactly the same and are prone to repetition. The same lines are parroted over and over again throughout each exercise session; in fact it was common to hear the same line of dialogue twice in the same breath. Additionally many of the line are made completely redundant due to a lack of correlation with your actions. Praise despite doing poorly, and equally negativity despite improvement, serves to completely break immersion. You’ll either get sick of the repeated phrases or discouraged from a lack of support.
Issues also crop up with detection on Kinect, especially with floor exercises. It’s all too common to do several sit-ups or push-ups more than the onscreen tally has counted. However, whilst missing a few counts from you hard work is frequent and slightly discouraging, it picks up enough to give you a fairly accurate reading of calories burned.
UFC Personal Trainer also supports the use of weights for strength training and certainly gets your heart racing regardless of whether you have the additional weights or not, and those calories are definitely being burning, so it technically works as an exercise title. Unfortunately the feedback from the trainers and the hardware fail to immerse you in the digital gym. It’s just not a substitute for the real thing, and with no advice for adjusting incorrect form and no impact when striking, it is possible to over extend your joints and do some damage.
UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System isn’t a bad choice for casual fitness improvement and maintenance but it doesn’t live up to its namesake, and you may want to mute your TV as you workout.
MLG Rating: 7/10
Platform: Xbox 360/ PS3 Release Date: 01/07/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.