Well they did it. THQ and UFC have finally made me buy a motion controller. Now I am cast into a sea of broken promises and failed dreams. Realistically we will see nanomachines inside a human before a good motion controller is developed for videogames, but I bought one anyways. I turned in my nerd card and became a casual gamer. What’s next? Me playing Call of Duty?
THQ’s UFC Trainer came out yesterday, and after much reluctance and second guessing I spent my hard earned MiddleEasy salary on a Playstation Move wand, PS eye and the trainer. After ‘playing’ it for over three hours my arms burn and I need to clean my glasses, but first we need to go to the beginning. Lets flash back.
Almost four hours ago I was greeted by the familiar Zuffa symbol and newfangled THQ logo. THQ informs me that the game comes with a strap to put around my leg, and that I should loosen it if it feels too tight. I nod to myself over this wisdom and calibrate my controller. Calibration is fairly simple but there were definitely problems with the lack of depth in my ‘gaming room’. Space is needed for UFC Trainer. I hear even more is needed for the Kinect version.
First things first I am required to do a series of simple drills like how many pushups/situps I can do in a minute to determine my fitness level. I try realy hard (too hard?) but I’m deemed a beginner. Whatever. With a big fat ‘Beginner’ on my chest I am sent to go train with either Mark Dellagrotte, Greg Jackson or to AKA and Javier Mendez. I choose Dellagrotte and we stretch together. I’m convinced he wears that hat in the shower. The stretching is standard warmup fair that you would do in any BJJ/MMA gym across the nation. Honestly the stretches are good, I like stretching with people even if they aren’t real people. It’s better than stretching with no people, fake or otherwise.
Naturally after stretching Dellagrotte taught me some standup. Jabs, hooks and elbow hits etc. It could have been my personal set up but the game didn’t register too well. Also, I haven’t hit many things in my life, but I am pretty sure there is only so much shadowboxing like this can do for you. Was it a work out? Eventually. I was tabbed as a beginner by that damn fitness test in the beginning but it took me a long while to ‘get the burn’ from the striking. There isn’t much to stop anyone from ‘cheating’ and just flicking the wrist to register strikes. But if you did that then why would you buy the game? The striking drills play like a minigame of sorts, adding multipliers for combos and streaks, giving you a better score to unlock movies, harder training and different aesthetic styles for your gym and other non essential items.
Unfortunately I am pummeled over and over again with the same dialogue. Eventually I closed my eyes and pretended Dellagrotte’s Boston accent was that of a Muay Thai training Will Hunting. That helped me get through those last few sets.
On to the cool down with more nice stretching. The graphics are fine. Nothing spectacular. Overall I did well in my session of Muay Thai training. The game neatly breaks down everything you’ve done, how long it took and your estimated burned calories which is nice. In the menus you can access customized graphs and charts to your progress and even set up a 30 or 60 day program to cut weight or build endurance. You have a calender and each day is broken down with activities. Pretty slick stuff. There are challenges you can do that feature real UFC fighters holding the mitts or encouraging you while you lift the tire or work the speed bag. Personally, I made Demian Maia hold the mitts for me. No one but Demian.
I am no fitness game aficionado, but I have seen enough played and even tried a couple out of a job requirement/morbid curiosity to realize that although the striking is not perfect, and the audio tracks are limited and leave a lot to be desired, this is one of if not the best fitness game ever made. Will you gain technique, or that UFC body? No, probably not. However, there is no reason why some of these drills can’t be used to help someone out there lose some weight if they are so inclined. Even if you are better off giving the money to your local BJJ instructor or boxing gym at the very least. There are solo drills in here that are straight out of a gym, and there are also a lot of drills that you can find on DSTRY sg for free, but if this is what you want to do and it becomes the stepstone to you actually leaving the house to lose weight, then props to everyone involved.
Now I want mint chocolate chip ice cream and Twizzlers. Combined.