Written on August 29, 2011
We’ve posted reviews of UFC Personal Trainer for the Xbox and the PS3. On both sites the game got a solid 4 out of 5 stars. The game was essentially identical across both platforms, both positive and negative. And I’m happy to say that with the Wii version, you’re pretty much getting the same game that’s available on the other platforms.
On the positive side, UFC Personal Trainer is easily the most intense workout you can get for the Wii. Note that intense isn’t necessarily for everyone. There were workouts at “beginner” level which were extremely challenging for me. Still, if you’re a UFC or MMA fan, you know that the sport is all about pushing and challenging yourself, so that’s great motivation to try the exercises over and over until you do them right.
I guess the main negative about the game is that it’s not all that much “fun”. I would have hoped that given that this is a UFC title, there would be at least some fighting simulation or more creative activities (as you’ll see below, the “fun” activities they do have aren’t all that fun). Still if you’re committed to working out and especially if you’re a UFC fan who’s familiar with these personalities, you’ll be plenty entertained just by the concept of having “personal training sessions” with real UFC fighters.
As with the PS3 and Xbox versions, you start out by creating a profile. Unlike those two versions, you can optionally use the Balance Board to measure your weight. For controls, you have the choice of using two Wii remotes, or a Wii remote and a nunchuk. For many of the exercises that require leg movement, the game comes with a leg strap that you can simply drop your Wii remote into.
The first thing you’ll do is a “fitness test”. As with the other systems, this test alone is a pretty intense workout in itself. You start by doing as many sit-ups as you can in a minute, holding a Wii remote in your hand and crossing your hands over your chest. I was pleasantly surprised that the system picked up my motions perfectly–even better than the Xbox or PS3 versions (which have the limitation of requiring you to be in camera view). The next test was a push-up test, where I had to put the Wii remote in the leg strap. Again, surprisingly, my push-ups were detected perfectly (granted, it’s easy to “cheat” by not doing a full rep or even just by flailing your Wii remote around, but why would anyone want to do that?). The next test was a test to detect your active heart rate. You do jumping jacks for a minute, and then count your pulse rate as the Wii counts down 15 seconds. From there, it’ll calculate your active heartrate. When the test is over, the system will assign you a level–beginner. intermediate, or advanced. On all three systems, I was diagnosed as a beginner, I’m guessing mainly because of my complete inability to do push ups.
From there, you’re brought to the main menu. Your menu choices are:
Workouts – There are essentially three sets of 20 workouts (each about 15-20 minutes long) that are given by UFC personalities Mark Delagrotte, Greg Jackson, and Javier Mendez. Before you start the workouts, there’s a video introduction to each UFC Fighter, followed by a menu where you can select workouts that focus on Core, Upper Body, Legs, Cardio, Strength, and more. The trainer (in cartoon form) will demonstrate each exercise, offering very detailed verbal instructions and advice. In some cases, the exercises as basic cardio and calisthenics exercises, but in some cases you’re actually learning real MMA techniques. There is supposedly Balance Board support for some of the exercises, but for the life of my I couldn’t find one that used the Balance Board.
Quick Workouts – Here, you can jump straight into exercises intended to meet a specific goal, such as weight loss, building strength, or building endurance.
The biggest pet peeve I have with the workouts is that far too much time is spent on stretching and warm-up/cool-down. I understand the importance of proper stretching, but in some cases the warm-up and cool-down take even longer than the workouts themselves, and in some cases aren’t even relevant to the particular exercises you’re doing. The good news is, you can customize workouts yourself and/or use the remote to skip the repetitive stretching exercises, but I just found it very annoying.
Activities – These are “fun” activities which provide quick, focused simulations of using real equipment to work out. You can choose from a virtual heavy bag, a virtual speed back, a heavy tire to flip, or hitting mitts held by a UFC personality. I wouldn’t say these are particularly challenging nor very fun, although they are decent simulations of the real thing.
Multiplayer Games – Here, you can play Tire Flip or Speed Bag against someone side-by-side, or take turns with someone to see who can score the highest on Hit the Mitts, Tire Flip, or Speed Bag. This would probably be more interesting if the activities themselves were more interesting.
Programs – Here, you can choose from different programs to meet certain goals. There’s a strength building program, a weight loss program, and an endurance building program for 30 days or 60 days, similar to the 60- and 90- day challenges in EA Sports Active 2 and NFL Training Camp. When you select a program, you’ll be brought to a calendar where you can see which specific workouts you’ll do on each day during that time.
Overall, as with the Xbox and PS3 versions, UFC Personal Trainer provides some of the best workouts you can get on the Wii. The videos, graphics, audio, options are all identical across all versions, and of course you’ll pay about $10 less for the game on the Wii than those systems. I found the motion controls very accurate for a Wii fitness game, and I appreciated that you could play it without forcing yourself to fit in a camera view, and that you could use the Balance Board. I’d say it’s a must-have in you’re a UFC fan looking to lose weight, or if you don’t mind pushing yourself. All other things being equal, I’d give the Wii version the same 4 stars that I gave the other versions.
However, there is one thing on the Wii version that forces me to drop it a star to 3 stars. The game constantly crashed on me. This is a problem that has been reported on a very widespread basis, even on THQ’s own discussion forums. But disappointingly, THQ has been silent on the issue.
What happens is, you’ll be in the middle of a workout and suddenly this will happen:
What makes it even more annoying is that your entire Wii freezes up. You can’t press buttons on the controller to reset, or even press the power button on the Wii to shut down. You actually have to unplug the power from the unit. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this on the Wii, and it really shows some lax quality control on THQ’s part. Worse, on the discussion forums, the THQ customer support people are telling people to clean their discs, which obviously is the wrong information given that this is happening to so many people.
The scuttlebutt on the boards is that the solution to this is to disconnect the Wii from the Internet. I tried this and it seems to work. But until THQ acknowledges the issue and releases a patch to make the game work for everyone, I can’t quite recommend the title just yet.