Game Review: EA Sports Active: NFL Training Camp (Wii)

Football fans are gearing up for the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday. Now you can tackle extra weight gain from all those yummy Big Game snacks with some extra exercise thanks to EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp. It’s a Wii motion-based fitness game with an extra emphasis and focus on football related activities.

Just like EA Sports Active 2, NFL Training Camp comes with several key peripherals. The game uses the Wii remote, but mostly keeps your hands free thanks to the included heart rate monitor and leg motion strap. First, you plug the included USB adaptor in the back of your Wii so your wireless devices will work. The heart rate monitor goes on your left forearm while the leg adaptor fits on your right thigh. There are thorough instructions on how to set up the equipment in game, and it’s easy to use, too.

The only included peripheral I had a little problem with was the resistance band. I found it hard to get them to work without snapping. And you’d think that with all the excellent instructions on the other accessories, they would also include steps on how to put together and use the resistance band, too.

Once you start the game, you are prompted to enter some personal information. Then you can set workout goals and a schedule. You can weigh yourself and do some exercises with the Wii Balance Board, but it’s entirely optional. So don’t think you need the Balance Board to play, it works just as well without it. You can also track your progress online at the official EA Active Web site.

In many ways, NFL Training Camp is a better game than EA Sports Active 2. The exercises feel more like playing a sports game instead of just aerobics. Instead of jogging, doing ‘foot fires’ or boxing, you’ll be running through obstacle courses, tackling training dummies, and sprinting to a certain spot on the field so you can raise your arms up in time to catch a pass as a wide receiver. And on some of the games, you can save your high scores and see how you rank, and challenge a friend in two player mode. You can also customize your workouts more, which is nice since you can choose to not have such long workouts as in EA Active 2.

The NFL license is used fully and authentically, too. You can exercise with all the current NFL teams. Since I live near Dallas, naturally I picked the Cowboys. I was impressed that you could even work out in the new Cowboys stadium (where the Super Bowl is this year). There are also official trainers, announcers, and players, such as Tony Romo and Deion Sanders (there are many others, I’m just not good at remembering football players’ names). The game feels more rewarding, too. After you exercise, you earn points which you can use at a Pro Shop to outfit your avatar with all sorts of NFL team gear, as well as buy collectible helmets and stickers for each team.

There are a couple of minor quibbles with NFL Training Camp, though. A small few of the exercises aren’t as responsive to the motion controls as others. And some of the instructions are a tiny bit harder to understand than they were in Active 2. Finally, you can only pick a male avatar. Since this is supposed to simulate a NFL training camp, I can kind of sort of understand that. But if you want to be anything other than a muscled-up football guy in the game, you’re out of luck. But other than that, EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp is another fun edition to the EA Active fitness game series.

Kid Factor:

Any age can do the exercises and no reading skill is required. However, a parent or older gamer may want to help younger players set up the equipment. Some parents may want to supervise during setup as well, especially if your kids want to track their progress online because you have to give out information like an e-mail address (though the site itself seems pretty safe). If you have kids who are interested in trying Pee Wee Football, or if they just like the sport in general, they’ll enjoy playing this one as it shows some of the things they might do in real practice. EA Sports Active: NFL Training Camp is rated E for Everyone.

One Response to “Game Review: EA Sports Active: NFL Training Camp (Wii)”

  1. Cary,

    I’ve been playing this and Active 2 for over two weeks now. I agree the NFL is feels much more like a game than Active 2. The football activities are enjoyable and are a nice break from the reused exercises from Active 2. The online groups and stat tracking create a little extra motivation not to miss a workout.

    NFL Training Camp has resulted in my seven year old wanting to workout and we’ve created shorter workouts for him. In addition to increasing his activity level, it’s gotten him to think about skills like leading a receiver. And the Pro Shop items you mentioned have created incentive for him to keep coming back.

    My criticisms of the game mainly stem from a direct comparisons to Active 2. Training Camp provides “instructional videos” for exercises every time they are done, rather than just the first time. Training Camp feels like a first attempt compared to Active 2 refinement. Active 2 has consistent provided a better workout, but NFL Training Camp has provided me with a fun way to get some exercise.

    Since there are deep discounts now on this and Active 2 (use the Amazon link to find prices) it’s more affordable than it’s initial $99 price tag.

    Thanks as always for the reviews you do Cary,

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