The fitness sequel to last year’s best-selling fitness game arrives and it is truly a sequel. If you haven’t heard about or had a desire to check out Your Shape Fitness Evolved, here’s what this year’s edition mentions:

Your Shape Fitness Evolved is designed with variety in mind, so you’re losing inches from your waistline, not losing interest in your workout. This 2012 edition gives your Kinect virtual gym almost a full makeover, adding new routines, improved body recognition, better movement-monitoring ability, and Facebook sharing to 90 hours of activities. Choose from routines like Boot Camp, Latin Dance, Hip-Hop, Kick Boxing, Bollywood, and more. Go on virtual runs through Paris, London, and New York. The game can now monitor floor-based exercises like push-ups. And you’ll get a better, more accurate body scan, allowing you to see just how good you’re looking before you share the news on Facebook.

Overview

The good news is it’s definitely a sequel, there’s old things and new things, much better detection as stated and much more content. If you were to choose between this edition and last year’s edition, I would definitely recommend this one, there’s nothing in Your Shape Fitness Evolved that isn’t in here. Ubisoft seemed to spend time on its pride and joy to make sure it succeeds and it probably will. If you’re a fitness freak, this is probably a game you want, although there are things that I still like about EA Sports Active 2.0 that aren’t offered here.

The Menu

The menu is a little different this time around. Instead of the menu being around you in Your Shape 1 (YS1), and branching out in a tree level format, this time there are just icons but the way you access them is new. You hover your hands over an icon you want, and then you push your hand towards Kinect and hold for it to register. It’s different, but it works, I think it works better to be honest. The previous menu was a little quirky at times. The menu is quite large because of all of the content. The way I’m doing this review is through the menu items again, so I’ll list each one. They are separated into categories and it is very organized which is nice.  The main categories are My Zone, Activities, Workouts, and Classes. One note to mention, as soon as you start-up the game and if you have YS1, it auto-imports your profile and calories into it, very nice feature as all of your previous work is not lost.

My Zone

My Progress – My progress consists of Statistics, the Xbox Live leaderboard and a Calendar. The stats are very detailed so you will be able to keep track of everything. The leaderboards are for your competitive friends/people. The calendar also keeps track of what you do each day or what you are supposed to be doing each day if you goals/challenges set.

My Objective
This section runs you through a very basic fitness quiz to get an idea of what you want to accomplish. It first asks about your current fitness level (ie. are you a couch potato), then asks what you want to achieve, and finally how do you want to do this. Once you fill out this quiz, it creates a custom workout/goal schedule for you, and I believe it goes into your calendar, I didn’t follow through with it as it wanted to me to work out right away with a 30 minute session and I was not all about that.

Bonus Content
I believe this will be the area where DLC will be possibly. There is a Gatorade series fit workout routine already included that you can play. There’s also a mini-game to unlock, but I thought this part was actually kind of cool. You just have to buy any a G2 fit bottle and let Kinect scan it, and then it unlocks it.

You can also access Uplay content via this area. Uplay is normal again, you can unlock a total of 100 Uplay points, and unlock 4 additional things. These 4 things are:

YSFE 2012 Theme (10U) – This is just a theme for your 360.

Legs: Shape & Burn (F) (20U) – This is one of the more intense activities that focuses on your legs.

Toning (H) (30U) – This is another intense activity focusing on toning your body and building mass.

Soccer: Power & Strength (40U) – This is one of the sporting activities that states its for dedicated athletes and builds power, strength and cooperation between your major muscle groups.

Unfortunately I can’t recommend to unlock any of these as each activity may not be something you want. Fitness is specific so based on what I’ve told you, hopefully you can figure out if you want to spend Uplay points on them or not.

Your Shape Center
This section gives you a total of how many calories the world is burning, but it does have a purpose. You can create goals for yourself, challenge someone or join an event. Accessing this area I believe also sets up your website account, I already had one so I can’t confirm.

My Options
Lastly are the options, they are the normal ones including save device, credits, change gamer profile, subtitles, audio language and unit system (metric or imperial) – it does default to metric so those of us in the states may want to change it to imperial.

Activities

The activities section is more or less the mini-games. I find these more enjoyable than the actual workouts, but the entire game puts a strain on you probably due to the repetitiveness, this is one of the more active titles so you won’t be able to just keep playing and playing like other Kinect titles. Some of these are multiplayer for 1-4 players as well which are just taking turns. There are quite a few activities so I’ll give you a brief on each.

Warm Up

Juggle It
Juggle It is a new mini-game. Basically you have a soccer ball that you have to kick and keep it from falling. You can use your head, your knees and your feet. It actually works really well and works like hacky sack. I would recommend to switch up feet and knees though, using the same one really doesn’t benefit you much, but it is nice to do what you want. Freedom in Kinect titles is always a plus.

Hurricane
Hurricane is another new one, it has you doing arm circles with a twist. There is a speed meter and you have to maintain arm circles at a certain speed in a certain direction. It will switch it up on you and you’ll have to change direction. Your objective is just to keep momentum going and at a steady pace. This one will make you sore.

Hu-La-La
This one is upgraded from the previous Your Shape. You still do the hula hoop motion but you go in different directions and speed as well. YS1 was not this technical, so this new one is much better. Anyhow if you haven’t played either, you have to do a hula hoop motion to keep balls up in the air, in YS1 the faster you went, the more balls you would get up in the air, this one has you setting more of a rhythm than quickness.

Kick It
Kick It is another new one, with soccer balls again. You have 3 gates, you just have to kick the balls as fast as possible through the gates and get as many as you can through them. What I found really cool about this, is it detects power and actually converts it to speed (either mph or kph) although I can’t tell you if its accurate or not. It at least detected the power differences though. Again you are free to move around playspace in this one and the balls show up by your feet. You can kick at any angle as well.

Pump It
Pump It’s another new one, kind of strange but it gets you going energy wise. You have to pump your arms in a up-down motion to blow up a ball. If you crouch while pumping, it will inflate faster. Your objective is to make it pop. This one gets a little boring and repetitive though.

I did make a quick montage of these 5 events in order that I listed them each showing about 30 seconds. I wasn’t in full-blown workout mode so I was very lazy doing these, this game made me tired. 🙂 Anyhow, here’s the video:

Wall Breaker
This one is an upgraded version. It’s as cool as the first one. I would have to say this is one of my favorite activities from the first one. Once you get into a rhythm, you just get going and it’s fun. It has 3 levels of easy, medium and hard. Easy is just punching. Medium adds kicking and hard, if its like the first (I didn’t unlock it) will add knees. What you have to do is cross punch/kick/knee the blocks that show, so it does require quick recognition as well. Here’s another video, you can see how well it detects – I only produced a minute since it is repetitive and boring to watch:

Stack ‘Em Up
This is another upgraded one. They added physical balance to it though. What this game is, is you have a board and blocks will fall down. You want to stack them as high and as many as possible. A hatch will randomly open up either side of you, and you have to dump the blocks in the hatch to score points. The physical balance that was added though is now you have to stand on one leg to extend your board’s width. It does get tiring so you will want to switch up legs. This one offers an easy/medium/hard difficulty level as well. Here’s a quick video of it:

Run The World
Run the World is new, and honestly I think it’s the coolest thing they added. They replicated real locations but in a YS world/aspect so its more virtual than anything, but the purpose of it is to make you feel like what its like to run a certain distance amount. It would have been 100 times better if they used like google maps or something and completed a real-life, true 3-dimensional aspect of jogging through places. The DLC could have been endless! It only offers New York and London right now, but rumor is Paris is supposed to be available soon. Anyhow, as you jog/run it gives you fun facts about the buildings and landmarks. Where I see this really successful is helping with people running in the comfort of their own home, sometimes its too cold out, raining, snowing, etc. Those problems don’t exist with this mode. It will also make your treadmill experience much more exciting as well instead of watching TV. I was just really impressed with this deal. Here’s a video of a run:

Jump Rope
Jump Rope is new, but it’s kind of dumb not using a real jump rope. It just feels awkward and you can just bunny bounce in place. The easy level just had me jumping 2 feet and then alternating, basically if you bounce to the beat, it’s not very hard. I did end up using a real jump rope I bought for EA Sports Active 2.0 and it worked fine, makes jump roping a little more exciting. This one offers the 3 difficulty levels as well, plus an “Extreme” difficulty. I can only jump rope for so long, so I didn’t get to extreme to see how extreme it is. The trailers show the gameplay of this one for the most part, and it really isn’t anything exciting so I didn’t bother making a video.

Stomp It!
This is another new one, you have to step on lighted panels to the beat. As you progress, you kind of make the music more elaborate, but the game itself just doesn’t seem to work well as you have to stretch far instead of just stepping around you, and in a quick manner at that so I didn’t really care for this one. It does have easy, medium and hard, but 3 levels for each, so there’s an Easy Level 1, Easy Level 2, etc. If the ring around you didn’t move with you, it may have been a little bit easier and more enjoyable, but it just didn’t seem to work well to me.

Those are the activities that it has, much more than in the original Your Shape: Fitness Evolved title, so the additional content is a bonus. If you get bored with the normal workouts, these will probably entertain you. I do appreciate the variety though.

Workouts

The workout area lets you work on specific areas of your body. Honestly, there are so many of them so I didn’t bother making a video as it’s just really too time consuming and the actual routines seem endless, I never encountered the same one twice unless it was part of the routine. New to this year though is floor exercises as well as balancing exercises. The floor exercises work the best out of all of the fitness games I have played, the controls are spot on and it will tell you if you aren’t low enough or if your back isn’t straight as an example. It’s good to finally have a working floor system in place. EA Sports Active 2.0  tried floor exercises, but later realized they weren’t very accurate and more problematic than anything and removed the detection for them. Biggest Loser and UFC Trainer if I recall, both do floor exercises but detection is below par, so at the time of this review, this is the only fitness game to offer floor exercises that are detected and pretty accurately for that matter.

The balance system is new and interesting as when it asks you to hold your position and balance, it draws lines on your body with points in a stick figure manner.  One activity, I did had to have my knees bent. My one knee was not bent enough so it marked my knee line on my stick figure as red instead of green. This makes sure you are in the position that the game wants, it’s actually a really nice feature. Anyhow, onto the workouts, I’ve listed all of them so if you are unaware of what this game has to offer, this should help you out.

They’ve also added exercises that are specific to using weights as well. This is somewhat new as last years, it said you could use weights and would recommend when to use them but they were just kind of mixed in. Unless you’re a fitness training person, you really don’t know what exercises to use weights on so this, again, is welcomed in my opinion as I’m sure it will help beginners.

Arms
Arms offers 12 activities. The first group is named 100%. These are just simple routines to get you going a little bit. They range from 2 minute to 12 minute sessions, so if you want to do some quick routines on specific parts, these are probably what you want. 100% consists of 5 activities total. The next group is shape and burn, which also consists of 6 activities, but these are more involved, ranging from 10 minute to 29 minute sessions. If you are an extremist, there is 1 extreme training activity lasting 31 minutes.

Abs
Abs offers 13 activities, 100% has 5 activities again, ranging from 2 minutes to 14 minutes. Shape and Burn has 7 activities ranging from 4 minutes to 28 minutes and the extreme training has a 30 minute session.

Back
The back section offers 12 activities as well, 5 of them belonging to 100% ranging from 2 minutes to 15 minutes, shape and burn having 6 activities from 8 minutes to 28 minutes and the extreme training clocking in at 34 minutes.

Glutes
Glutes has 12 activities, 100% contains 5 of them, ranging from 2 minute to 15 minute sessions. Shape and Burn has 6 ranging from 9 minute to 27 minute sessions, and the extreme training has a 32 minute session. The ladies will probably dig this one.

Legs
Legs offers 12 activities as well. 100% has 5 of them from 2 minute to 15 minutes workouts. Shape and Burn has 6 ranging 9 minute to 29 minute sessions and the extreme training exercise will keep you going for 31 minutes. One of the Shape and Burn activities is locked in UPlay though, so if you really want to work on your legs, I’d recommend unlocking it as well.

Cardio
Cardio has 10 activities, but 9 of them belong to Break A Sweat. These sessions start at 2 minutes and will have you going all the way to 31 minutes. The extreme training portion will really give you a workout at 38 minutes.

Toning
Toning offers 9 activities, 8 of these belong to a Build Strength section. One of them is locked in UPlay as well. These range from 2 minute workouts to 24 minute workouts. The extreme training portion is 25 minutes in length.

Sports Preparation
Sports preparation is an interesting area. It offers 8 different workouts to help your body during the off-season, or even during the season. They are exercises created specifically for sports, so this may help people. It is somewhat basic as I think Adidas’ miCoach is going to go into this into much more detail. Anyhow, 4 of the activities are for American Football, which include Basic Preparation, Cardio & Endurance, Power & Strength and Pro Training, although don’t think you are going to be throwing some passes or dodging people and what not. It’s a normal exercise workout, instead the workouts focus primarily on your physical conditioning.

The other 4 belong to soccer or real football, and include Basic Preparation, Cardio & Endurance, Power & Strength and Speed and Agility. Each activity is around 30 minutes average, some longer, some shorter, but like I said this game is loaded with content so there is always something to do. It would have been really cool if you did do normal sports training such as running a ball and dodging tackles, or dribbling a soccer ball and using fancy footwork to get around defenders, it would have really mixed this game up to be a better fitness game in my opinion, I think that’s why I still like some of the activities in EA Sports Active 2.0 , as it’s just not about fitness, it’s about doing other stuff as well such as kicking soccer balls into a net and hitting targets.

Health
This one is an interesting one as well. Not only is the game geared for younger and middle-aged people, they also included sessions for kids and older people as well. These 3 events are sponsored by Humana, and offer a Strengthen Your Heart routine, Aging With Grace and an Active Kids workout. Each of these are 13 minutes so it shouldn’t be too much a strain. I just found it welcoming as my kids always think they want to workout, and then find it too difficult, so this kids one is pretty cool, it’s easy enough for them to do and not overdo themselves although I’m positive they’d enjoy any kids Kinect game more than this one, but its at least a start.

Classes

The last section is the classes. I consider these classes more similar to the DVD instructional videos that you can buy, like Billy Blanks Boot Camp, Zumba, etc. This was actually another brilliant idea in my opinion and it offers even more content to the game. What’s cool about it, as you progress through the workout, your backgrounds and environments are specific to the genre and they become filled with objects and different things to give you a more immersive experience. It is pretty cool.

African Rhythms
African Rhythms offers 2 different classes, but breaks it all up for you so you work at your own pace. It starts with a learn it, which just has you do very basic routines, but they are more of a workout routine than dance routines, but this is exactly the kind of stuff you would find on workout DVDs. After Learn It, there is Rehearse it, Speed It Up and then Show It Off. Show It Off has the most moves in each type, but it does still repeat, for example, the one session I did only did different moves for about 2 1/2 minutes, and then repeated for a total 8 minute workout. The music is fine for what it is, I don’t know this genre so I can’t tell you if its licensed or not, but it gets the job done.

Hip Hop
Hip Hop offers the same 2 classes with 6 activities in each, there are 2 learn it routines. This music is made up from what I could tell but its more of fitness music than actual hip hop, so its fine for what it is. If you actually want to dance to Hip Hop tracks, I’d recommend the Dance Central series.

Destination Bollywood
Bollywood was introduced as DLC in last years game, so they’ve brought it back and it’s much better. It offers 2 classes as well and is a fun experience. I still believe the YS series is the only game to offer Bollywood, so if you want Bollywood, this is probably for you.

Latin Dance
Latin Dance is new, and offers a Zumba type atmosphere. I think I liked this one the best out of them all, but I also like Zumba so that could be why. It offers 2 classes as well. I do prefer Zumba Fitness over this addition though. The scenery is set on some tropical island and as you progress, it turns into a real cool environment.

Boot Camp
Boot Camp, in my opinion, is more like Billy Blanks Boot Camp, where the trainer will kind of encourage you to do better or if you aren’t doing something right, he’ll let you know. It’s scenery is set in a military boot camp, and offers 3 classes. Class 1 consists of Push It and Own It. Class 2 has Prove It and Conquer It. Class 3 has Crush It and Destroy It.

Cardio Boxing
This particular activity was mixed in with the routines in YS1, this year they’ve given it its own section. It offers 14 total activities, 3 classes and is split into the following; Learn It, Push It, Own It and Attack It. It really is a good cardio boxing workout, you’ll be doing all kinds of punching and kicking so it doesn’t just focus on punching.

Yoga
Yoga obtained its own section this year, if I recall correctly, it was mixed in with Zen in YS1. Yoga has 4 activities, 3 of them are named Develop It ranging from 8 to 9 minute sessions. The last one called Master It includes a 23 minute session. I’ve never done professional Yoga so my guess is its good enough.

Zen Energy
It seems Ubisoft fixed this as Zen in YS1 was very active and physical, or I could be confusing it with the Z-Step, but I thought it was part of Zen, maybe not, but anyway, they’ve renamed this to Zen Energy and changed it to, more or less, Tai Chi and Yoga. This version seemed more realistic to me and more immersive than the Self-Defense attempt, even though your trainers clothes aren’t as cool. This mode offers 8 activities total, 2 different classes and 4 activities per class. It has Learn It, Develop It and Master It.

That’s the content of the game, and Ubisoft is proud of this title so I would expect DLC to arrive as well as they were pretty good about YS1. There probably is something for everyone, so you should be able to find something to do. There is also an unlocking and badge/medal system integrated as well. Some activities require you to pass them in order to unlock the more advanced/difficult activities. During all activities, you accumulate points/ranks to earn badges and medals. I believe you have to complete an activity 8 times to earn a badge, if I remember correctly, and then if you are doing a class or workout for example, you have to complete all activities within that class/workout in order to earn a medal.

Your Shape Center

Your Shape is one of the few fitness games that integrate into an online website. On the website itself, it has been upgraded from last years website. It keeps tracks of all of your stats. Here’s some screenshots of what it used to be, and what it is now with top to bottom comparisons so you can get an idea.

Your Shape 1 Dashboard

 

YS 2012 Dashboard

Your Shape 1 Leaderboards

YS 2012 Leaderboards

Your Shape 1 Goals

YS 2012 Goals

I believe the events section is new, which allows you to team up with people in an event and whichever team has the most calories wins the event. I guess it’s cool, but you really need to be dedicated with it.

There was also talk of a YS app coming to iPhone’s but I’m a windows guy, so I couldn’t tell you about it, it seems they have something available on the website for iPads and iPhones, but not sure what it is. Strange that they make a product for Microsoft, yet support Apple…It could just be a statistics app that shows you your progress on the go. If they actually created an app that kept track of what you do via phone, and plug those numbers into the game as well, now that would be sweet.

The Controls

Ubisoft was one of the first to do image projection in a game. Last year’s game did a decent representation and you were, more or less just a blob, you couldn’t really make out detail but you could tell it was you. You were also able to change your colors of your silhouette as well. This year, they focused more on detail. It scans you in and you are detailed, whatever you are wearing it will give your clothes a shine so it is pretty cool to actually see yourself doing workouts in detail. Your playspace is always designated by a box so you know when you are out of play or not.

The detection system is much better than last years, especially with the floor exercises. The game will compare what you’re doing to what you should be doing and will inform you on how to fix it. Overall, the system works well and you probably will have little to no issues with the game. You do need more floorspace though because of the floor exercises, just a FYI.

Conclusion

Overall, this is probably one of the more impressive titles. There is a lot to do so you are not wasting money, I still never made it all the way through the first YS1 and I doubt I’ll make it through this one, I have too many other games to play 🙂 But for fitness enthusiasts, this is a good buy, it will last you and should give you enough content to not be bored, although I can’t say for certain, and it will definitely tire you out. As I mentioned, I would highly recommend this one over YS1 as there really is that much more.

I do feel this one does offer women more activities than men, which is fine, but I think that is why I like EA Sports Active 2.0 better, it’s more of a sports workout than a regular fitness/cardio routine and it keeps me interested. With YS1, I ended up getting bored with it, this one, I may get bored with as well, but that is just me. I would have thought they would have added 2-player workouts as most people like to work out with other people to keep each other going. This was a huge thing with EA Sports Active 2.0 , as 2 player simultaneous workouts were great, but again this year’s edition doesn’t offer it, this is more or less for yourself or you will have take turns with a partner, maybe that’s why it’s named Your Shape and not Yous Shaped?

Even though there is plenty of content and the game plays fine, there’s still room for improvement. Ubisoft did a good job on it, but it is fitness specific and not everyone wants a fitness game. I do feel any fitness game for Kinect though, is a better investment than a membership at a fitness club, besides access to the weight machines and what not, nothing beats being able to do all of this in the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. The question remains though, who is going to bring the ultimate fitness game to Kinect and close it out as the fitness category is getting over saturated? I feel YS 2012 should have been what YS1 wasn’t. The sooner the better so developers can focus on some different games.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?