Think you’ve got what it takes to be the ultimate fighting champion? We do, thanks to a new style of martial combat we’ve personally created. Although the art of submachinegun-do may be regarded as unsporting by other MMA fighters. Okay, so while becoming UFC champion is unlikely through THQ’s Personal Trainer – barring being allowed to take your own Uzi into the octagon – it does provide a good fitness workout.
We got sweaty with the Xbox version, which uses Kinect for full body motion-detection. Before you get into a workout, the program insists on precautions such as a fitness assessment, and a warm-up before any routine. In fact, there are lengthy warm-downs as well, and UFC Trainer is very sensible in this respect. The lengthy load times between sessions, on the other hand, aren’t so welcome.
The workouts, hosted by real UFC fighters, involve working on striking techniques, strength, stamina and general fitness. The Kinect tracking and evaluation of your moves is generally fairly good but occasionally skittish. We experienced the odd failed detection of punches, and a bit more trouble in one section where we had to hit the deck and get up quickly. The game simply refused to recognise us on the floor.
No feedback was offered as to where we were going wrong either, and on the whole coaching feedback is a little lacking and repetitive (though we did receive a few useful hints here and there).
Room to move
Floor space is also something of an issue, as Personal Trainer demands a bit more room than your average Kinect title. For example, at times it requires you to do press-ups head-on to the sensor. The menus are voice-controlled, too – but the speech recognition is terrible. So while there are problems with the Kinect implementation, none of them are game-breaking (unless you have a tiny living room).
Complete 30- or 60-day exercise programmes can be embarked upon – or you can opt for simple activities if you just want a quick blast. The latter includes lifting imaginary tyres – which is far more tiring than it sounds (pun fully intended), mitt sparring and bag sessions. These are all challenging and fun, and the activities can also be tackled in multiplayer mode, both locally and online.
- A good challenging workout; Kinect detection is sound most of the time.
- Coach feedback is lacking and repetitive; motion detection goes off the rails occasionally.
This is one of the better Kinect exercise titles we've come across. Despite something of a lack of feedback, it offers a pretty intense training experience that'll definitely get you sweating. Worth a punt for those who fancy a spot of pretending to be Bruce Lee - or Georges St-Pierre, rather - while they're getting fit.