Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Biggest Loser Fitness Video Game Review

Now you can become "The Biggest Loser" in the comforts of your own home. Shape and tone your body, either by yourself or with a friend, with this interactive fitness video game for the Wii. Choose a 4, 8 or 12 week program and The Biggest Loser fitness game will build a workout and nutrition plan for you so you can reach your fitness goals. You can take advantage of the expert advice and unique motivational styles of the amazing trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels to help guide you along with the way.
The Biggest Loser game logo
Bob Harper leading exercises on the Wii Balance Board in The Biggest Loser for Wii
Wii Balance Board support.
An example of a customized core routine from The Biggest Loser for Wii
Customizable workouts.
Playing as former TV show contestant Michelle in The Biggest Loser for Wii
Play as former contestants.
Built in calendar for tracking goal progress in The Biggest Loser
Progress tracking functionality.
Put Wii to Work for Your Health
We know what you’re thinking – "The Wii?? Isn’t that for kids and gamers?" Not anymore. The Biggest Loser is an interactive fitness program that emulates the competitive and training elements of the hit NBC show. Just like the show, your goal is to accomplish weight loss milestones through weekly training and exercise challenges. If you succeed in obtaining your weight loss goal, you’ll become the "Biggest Loser". Lose weight, win challenges and stay above the yellow line. Sign on to Your Virtual Gym
Getting started reaching your fitness goals with The Biggest Loser is as easy as grabbing your Wii Remote. If you got the Wii Balance Board, bring that along too. These will be your tools of the trade. There's no need to worry about strapping on awkward devices or using complicated exercise equipment, you’ll be up and sweating in minutes. So, how does it work? The game includes 4 tools to reach your goal:
  • Fitness Program - This is where you establish your goals, make a plan and compete for the title of The Biggest Loser. Pick a 4, 8 or 12 week program and start sweating.
  • Health and Lifestyle Tool - In this component you’ll find encouragement and tips from former Biggest Loser contestants and trainers, and some of the best recipes from the Biggest Loser cookbooks.
  • Exercise Routines - This section allows you to select from a collection of routines that match your skill level and let you focus on every part of your body. Through it you can also create your own routine that fits your schedule and focuses on your favorite exercises.
  • Challenge Events - In Challenges you’ll take the exercises you’ve learned and put them to the test in a series of fun but competitive events against some of the former contestants that you’ve seen on The Biggest Loser show. In Single Exercises, you can find your weakest exercise and conquer it or refine your technique to get the most out of your time.
Multiplayer Support
Dedicated to helping users attain their weight loss goals by all means necessary, The Biggest Loser allows for the power moral support and companionship of having a friend at your side. To that end two players can train together, pushing each other when they need to and providing healthy competition as they engage in weekly challenges to see who really is The Biggest Loser.
Wii Balance Board Integration
Although the Wii Balance Board is an optional accessory, The Biggest Loser offers numerous interactive features which fully employ the innovative, sensor-driven hardware that only Wii currently offers. Use the Wii Balance Board in over 66 of the Biggest Loser's 88 exercises, including squats, lunges and knee lifts to name a few. As you mirror your trainer’s movements Wii will monitor your movements to help you become more efficient at each exercise. Whether its cardio, upper and lower body workouts or even yoga, you’ll learn proper form and technique in no time. Wii technology, combined with The Biggest Loser comprehensive workout and diet programs, will help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle and to feeling great about yourself. And you may even have fun along the way too.
Key Game Features
  • Join The Biggest Loser Challenge - Select from a 4, 8 or 12 week program and compete with contestants from the prior seasons of The Biggest Loser.
  • Personalize your Program - Choose your challenge length and difficulty level, your personal goal, your trainer, customize routines and even pick your team color.
  • Health & Lifestyle Tips and Information - Includes healthy recipes from The Biggest Loser Cookbook, a calorie counter and healthy tips and suggestions from Bob and Jillian, chefs and contestants.
  • Train with a Friend - Two players can train together and compete in weekly challenges to see who really is The Biggest Loser.
  • A Complete Workout - Over 88 exercises, including upper and lower body, core, cardio and yoga.
  • Wii Balance Board Compatible - Use the Wii Balance Board for squats, knee lifts, lunges and much, much, more.

Product Description

Utilizes the Wii Remote, Nanchuk and Balance Board. Features 8 of your favorite former contestants from past seasons

Reviews:

1. The core of this game is its very comprehensive list of dozens and dozens of "Single Exercises", which are essentially old-school calisthenic exercises (i.e. exercises that don't use weights or equipment). Every exercise imaginable is included, including exercises for cardio, upper and lower body, core, and even yoga poses. Each is clearly identified by an icon and color-coded by intensity (light, moderate, challenging, hard, and intense). As you select each exercise, there's even a diagram telling you exactly what muscle groups you're working out.

During each exercise, an on-screen figure will demonstrate to you very clearly how to do it, including the correct posture, moves, and timing. The exercises typically use the Wii-mote and/or the Balance Board to passively "check" your progress in different ways. For example, when you choose the jump rope exercise, you hold the Wii-mote like a jump rope and make small circles with it. With "tire drills", you put your Wii-mote in your pocket and the system registers the vibrations as you run in place rapidly. There are a number of exercises which use the balance board such as the "plank" (where you press both hands against the balance board) and the "T-raise" (where one hand is on the balance board and the other is stretched out). Some exercises will be very familiar (jumping jacks, push ups), but even the ones that aren't familiar are very intuitive once you watch the on-screen character doing them.

You can do each of the exercises a la carte, but more likely you'll want to choose "Exercise Routines", which combine multiple single exercises into comprehensive pre-designed programs. You can also create custom routines.

You can also choose the full "Fitness Program". You enter your vital information (conveniently, you can use your Balance Board to measure your weight, both your initial weight and in your very own "weigh ins"). Then, you pick your favorite real-life Biggest Loser contestant to play as from a list of eight past contestants. You can pick whether you want Bob Harper or Jillian Michaels as "your trainer". From there, you can pick a personal goal: whether you want to simply maintain your current weight and improve your health, lose a little weight, or lose a lot of weight. You'll also pick a skill level and a program length.

Based on what you enter, the system will calculate a specific exercise regimen for you, complete with dates. If you're really committed, you can also input the number of calories you eat every day, as well as log any additional training you do outside of the program (such as walking, running or biking outside), and the program will adjust itself accordingly.

An interesting part of this title is a menu option called "Health and Lifestyle". Here, you'll find a large number of recipes straight out of The Biggest Loser Cookbooks. Under this menu option you'll also find a large number of "quick tips" from past Biggest Loser participants, including short video clips from Bob and Jillian themselves. Finally, there's an extremely useful feature called the "Calorie Counter", which calculates the daily calorie intake recommend specifically for you based on your weight, age, and goals.

The most interesting part of The Biggest Loser for Wii are what they call "Challenge Events". Here, your on-screen character will compete in a number of interesting events, the types of which you'd see on the show. As on the show, you start out competing with 7 personalities from the show, and after each round one is eliminated. You don't actually simulate the movements of the character on screen, but instead you perform "single exercises", and your character does his task only if you do the exercises precisely and timed correctly. I found this by far the most effective part of the game, because my instincts to compete far exceeded any resistance to exercise.

There are a couple minor annoyances. If your balance board power goes out, the game is completely hung up until you turn it back on. The controllers are passive, meaning that instead of actively tracking your movements accurately, it'll just check whether you come close to making the on-screen movements. Sometimes the controllers will not register properly, and in many cases, you're on the "honor system" as to how closely you follow the on-screen examples (even if you get a little sloppy in your form or don't do the exercise properly, Bob or Jillian may continue to shout out praise and encouragement). One thing to keep in mind is that you need a LOT of room to move around. And I admit I was a little disappointed that most of the activities didn't take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Wii and its controllers in the same innovative ways that Wii Fit Plus does--at the end of the day it's really not much more than a glorified exercise video.

But still the bottom line is, they have an impressive number of fundamental exercises to work out all different areas of your body. When I choose "intense" level in particular, it really does make my heart pound and gives me a great workout that rivaled any kind of workout I'd get at the gym, for a fraction of the price. And fans of the TV show will appreciate the details like the voice talent, the familiar settings, Bob and Jillian's coaching, and the recipes and tips.

Bottom line, if you're looking for something along the lines of a more traditional exercise video, or you're a die-hard fan of the show, you won't be disappointed. If you're looking for something that's a game first and exercise second, try something else like Wii Fit Plus or Dance Dance Revolution.

2. Positives -
1) If you like the show it's fun to play along with the trainers.
2) You get to choose the length of time you want your "challenge" to last
3) There is a menu where you can choose if you want to do the program (a guided series of exercises, a calendar, a weight graph, diet suggestions, a weekly challenge and weigh in) or you can choose individual types of exercises. (Yoga, upper body, full body, lower body)
4) There is a place where you can kind-of make up your own series of exercises. Although I like this, it is also a negative because once you pick out a series of exercises and start your "routine" there is a lot of dead time between the different ones you picked; time where your just standing there waiting for it to load the next one you pick.
5) You can choose to use your fit board or not.
6) I really like the weekly weigh in and challenges.
7) It has a nice calendar feature so you can change your scheduled training.

Negatives - I'm disappointed because they could have done a much better job, some of this stuff is really obvious and it seems like they were kind of lazy with the game. The game is not very personalized, at all.
1) On the game you do not have a personal character, or even a mini, instead you pick a former biggest loser contestant.., and there is not very many to pick from. You don't even get to use your own name.
2) One of my biggest complaints.., there are a lot of floor exercises where you are looking at the ground and the trainer changes exercises on the screen, with no warning.., no count down or anything, so you're constantly trying to look up.., it interrupts the exercise as you have to change positions just to see what he is doing.
3) It often tells you to put the remote "in your pocket". a) Most of my work out clothes don't have pockets. b) When it's in your pocket it doesn't read your movements very well and just tonight I lost in a "challenge" because the wii was not reading my movements while I worked my butt off.
4) Last week I lost 2 lb.s.., it put me below the yellow line and my player looked all disappointed. I thought "hey, 2 lb.s at home is good.," but that was not a big deal.. but then.., At this week's challenge I gained 2 lb.s (what can I say, it was Thanksgiving week).., so my contestant should have looked all disappointed and it should have showed negative weight loss. But instead it showed my player "Michelle" as having an 8 lb loss and my contestant was the 1st place player.
5) Overall the game is not personal enough, it often feels like your watching a workout video and not like your playing a game.
6) When you are in a routine it has a little clock thing that spins as you continue the individual exercise so you know how long you've got left for that exercise (that's good)., but it doesn't have any sort of timer so you know how far along you've progressed in that training routine. Am I half way done? Only 25%? Who knows. It's annoying.
7) The graphics are boring, boring, boring. You are in the gym or by the pool. (Unless something more happens at a different level, but I've been doing this for a few weeks and the graphics are boing).
8) The exercises are very repetitive.., I was so surprised there is no step routine, no crunches.., a lot of basics that could have been added. You get tired of doing the same things.., plank on knees, plank, jumping jacks, boxing, low step.., boring. The program mixes up the different exercises but it's just the same ones in different sequences.
9) Where's the good music? Just the same boring background tune over and over..,
10) Bob and/or Jillian say the same few phrases over and over.., again.., boring!

Honestly, The Wii fit has way more interesting stuff to do and look at.

I've been doing it for a few weeks and I am glad I bought it because I do it almost daily.., but mostly because I love the show and it's fun to play along on this version. However, they were really lazy with this game and it could have been done much better. I am already getting tired of it and I've been playing on my Wii fit to warm up and on the days there is no "scheduled training" The only reason I gave it 3 stars is because it's fun to play with the game. I think after my current 4 week challeng is over I'm going to only log on for the weekly challenges and weigh ins. I'm very disappointed at what they did with this.., they've done a few other training games with Jillian that I know of and I'm sure they got enough feedback to make a better game.., this game feels rushed or like they were very lazy with it.

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