Your Shape: Fitness Evolved Body On Preview - The Future Of Fitness "Games"
Written Thursday, July 08, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
If you looked up “Kinect sceptic” in the Oxford English dictionary, you’d find nothing. If you looked it up in the imaginary dictionary that I just this second ago made up in my mind, chances are you’ll find a picture of me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. I’m not too concerned about the software for the peripheral at the moment in all honesty. The truth is, the launch of any console/peripheral never really has a stellar launch line-up. However, it’s the tech that has me slightly concerned. You know, with its lack of responsiveness and all that jazz. E3 wasn’t exactly a good showing for Microsoft‘s new starlet.
I’ve always said that the response time will be what makes or breaks Microsoft’s motion capture device. Not only did Ubisoft’s Your Shape confirm my suspicions that their piece of software is the future of fitness “games,” but it also gave me a glimmer of hope that Kinect can actually live up to its billing. I said hope, not confirmation.
While Ubisoft’s Your Shape can never really be classed as a game, the truth of the matter is that the software is looking like the most impressive launch title for the peripheral. Essentially a fitness game, Your Shape seems like much more thought has been put in to the title than any of the other launch titles we’ve seen to date, and it almost makes Wii Fit and EA Sports Active seem rather amateur - shocking, I know! That’s partly down to its clean and slick interfaces, excellent presentation and Zen-like look and feel.
Yesterday we got the chance to go “body-on” - *sigh* - with the title at Ubisoft’s post-E3 - *shudder* I was hoping to never say that word again till 2011 - showcase. It was in fact my first proper experience with Kinect ever. Ever I say.
The concerns about small living spaces and Kinect seem to be right on the money and after being told by the rep that I was too close to the device on more than one occasion, it seems as if Kinect won’t be as compatible with small living spaces as Microsoft would like you to believe. It seems as if the optimum distance away from the peripheral (or possibly, just Your Shape) is about 2 metres away - of course, that’s just a guesstimate, although I hate to blow my own trumpet, but I’m usually quite good with spatial awareness. I suppose it only makes sense though; get too close and the lens can’t get you all on screen at once.
Not only can you put “Your Shape” in the game, but you can even be on-screen yourself. In other words, you don’t have to see that orange silhouette that you may have seen in the Ubisoft and Microsoft press conference, but it can actually be you on-screen - like a live capture of you. Not really greatly important, but something worth noting. Although apparently, you can change it back to the coloured silhouette if you prefer the surreal and unique look that it offers you - we do.
The first mode we got a little time with was the game’s Tai-Chi mode, where it does exactly what it says on the tin. Following your personal trainer and an on-screen checklist, you’re given a series of exercises and poses to perform before you can move on to the next. It really asks for your commitment as well, and will only reward you when you actually put your back into it. When it asks you to bend your legs, merely bending your legs in a half-assed manner will not fulfil the criteria of the pose needed to move on. You really have to bend those legs! The same with the arms and so on. It’s as every bit relaxing and spiritual as Tai-Chi should be.
Now we were warmed up, it was time to up-the-ante with a block-smashing mini-game and I believe this will be the draw for a lot of people, myself included - the mini-games that is. It’s a simple mini-game, truth be told, but it’s another one where the presentation is sublime. The aim of the game is to cross-punch and cross-kick the blocks as they appear on-screen. So if a block appears next to your midriff on your right side, you have to swing across and hit it with your left fist. If you don’t, then the block won’t smash. Simple, but addictive.
Set over a series of rounds, you’ll be cross-punching the midriff and head high boxes and then cross-kicking the low boxes when they appear in view. Clear the round and you’ll get a multiplier. Do it faster, and you’ll get more points, which is where the addictive gameplay comes into play, as you’ll be itching to beat your last score - while at the same time, burning calories.
There was the odd issue with the detection zones with the boxes on the odd-occasion, resulting in me having to re-hit a box although I wasn’t doing anything different. Those occasions were few and far between though, so it’s not an alarming issue.
It’s abundantly clear that Your Shape has the potential to take the fitness world by storm and to do it in style. Having your own personal instructor, a fantastic clean-cut look and some pretty addictive - and responsive - mini-games, it’s shaping up to be Kinect’s best piece of launch software along with the popular Harmonix title, Dance Central.
On the whole Kinect issue, well, I can only say that I was quite impressed with its response times, and although it’s not quite 1:1 - which honestly, we were hoping for - it can’t be far off it. When I posed the question on specific response time numbers to the rep on hand, he was careful not to give me a headline to come away with, but he urged me to give it a go. I did. I was impressed. It’s as simple as that. I’m still a Kinect sceptic though.
Your Shape is scheduled for a November 4th release in North America as a Kinect launch title and alongside Kinect's launch in Europe... when it gets a date that is.