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EA Sports Active on Game and Player

EA Sports Active

Rich Johnson  //  June 9, 2009

More fit than Wii.


'm fat. Not exactly by the American standard, but I could stand to lose a pound, or ten — OK, twenty. I've fallen victim to Western culture like so many others. Fast food, soda and video games top my list of vices. Like many northerners, the winter months magnify my shortcomings horrifically. Aside from shoveling the driveway you might call my lifestyle sedentary. As far as Electronic Arts is concerned, I am the target market for this niche title. A large niche, literally and figuratively, but a niche none the less. Spurred by the gentle giant Wii Fit, various fitness related titles of little influence have come and gone.

The subject: a great weight
on my mind. And everything else.
Briskly bounding comes Active, packaged with a thigh holster and resistance band, it is immediately apparent: this means business. Any seasoned gamer knows the EA tag on the box promises it will epitomize the genre. Having come into our good graces of late with a variety of stellar core games, this point is especially true.

Active sets out to embody a personal trainer, offering varied daily workouts complete with explanation and motivation. Workouts have three levels of difficulty to match your exertion capabilities. Even the easiest of settings offer vigorous enough activity to leave you sweat-drenched, having burned 150 to 200 calories. Higher difficulties burn as much as 500 calories in a single workout — a substantial amount of activity, capable of making a serious dent in your weight-loss goals.

The heart of the game lies in something called the "Thirty-Day Challenge." A calendar month spent with Active is your challenge. Reporting your activity level, food intake and daily workouts comprises the entirety of the mode. However, heavier activity and food logs exist for free, leaving much to desire in this area. Where this Active log lacks, it makes up for in fitness and health tips; for instance, tracking your water and soda intake, charting each while showing acceptable levels of consumption. These functions accomplish in keeping healthy habits in your mind, possibly swaying your decision to enjoy that third can of soda with dinner.

The majority of workouts focus on aerobic activity. The strength-training exercises become very low-impact since the included resistance band is understandably weak. Purchasing a stronger resistance band might solve this dilemma. With approximately 150 different exercises, workouts will vary enough to avoid tedium. Over 80 preset workouts scaling all the way to hour-long marathon sessions are available, while a sample 20-minute workout will include as many as 20 different exercises keeping a rigorous pace than seems to fly by.

Don't get any bright ideas, however — you can't cheat these exercises. If proper form is not maintained the game comes to a halt until you get back in proper form. That is not to say that completing each exercise is difficult. An on-screen trainer demonstrates every activity with precision for your reference. That, coupled with verbal cues for each required movement, is given if your motions are insufficient. Multiplayer support allows two players to workout while tracking statistics for each individual's profile. A function that adds another layer of enjoyment to an already fun and rewarding experience.

You, too can be as fit and trim
as Bob Greene
Wii Fit owners will be happy to know that Active includes balance board support. The implementation of this functionality is not overly exciting. While some exercises are enhanced greatly by the balance board others feel almost diminished. Cardio-Boxing incorporates kicks while using the balance board, while rollerblading takes away jumping when included. This complaint is made minor since you can change the settings for each exercise individually. What is not understandable is why the balance board does not function as a scale within Active. It's counterintuitive to a title so capable of peeling off the pounds. The thigh holster has drawbacks, maybe caused by my overly shapely thighs. It has slipped from my leg a few times, rudely interrupting a few workouts. A change of attire may be required to combat this flaw. All minor detractors causing only minor inconveniences.

A quick visit to reveals a fully supported community. From blogs and forums to nutrition and health tips, just about everything is included — a rather nice touch for the quasi-gamers likely to enjoy this title. The recently announced holiday expansion has me pondering MotionPlus support in the future of this franchise. Either way, expect more fun in fitness with continued support from EA to come. It's worked for me so far. While not inspiring any diet change, I've managed to drop three pounds in two weeks. I'm a work in progress thanks to EA Active.

EA Sports Active



EA Vancouver


EA Sports

NA Release

May 19, 2009


Play Mode

ESRB Rating

In Favor

  • A capable weight-loss tool
  • Demanding yet fun
  • Multiplayer support


  • Resistance band is weak
  • No weight scale
  • Would benefit from Wii MotionPlus

G&P Rating

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