The sequel to EA Sports Active, EA Sports Active 2 adds new exercises, workout plans, and brings the series to the Xbox360 and PS3 alongside the Wii.
The major inclusion to Active 2 is a wireless heart rate monitor worn on the arm. The player’s heart rate is displayed on the screen along with five activity targets giving encouragement to faster rates (for pushing themselves harder). The heart rate monitor is not meant to be a safety device, and workouts do not appear to change in any way based on its readings.
Active 2‘s major change from the previous title is to move away from using handheld sensors (the Wiimote and nunchuck) to track activity. The PS3 and Wii versions include additional wireless sensors worn on the arm and leg (“Total Body Tracking” system), while the Xbox360 version uses only the heart rate monitor and the Kinect to track movement. All three platforms thus allow players to freely use hand weights and perform floor exercises – two limitations of the first game. As with the first game, a resistance band is also included for those who do not have their own workout equipment.
Players can choose from three week or nine week programs. These programs are rigidly guided systems (unlike user-selected “classes”) that track players through the range of weeks selected. Four exercises are scheduled per week, and the contents of each session are preset by unspecified fitness experts. The game also encourages filling out an in-game journal, inviting the user to fill in eating habits, weight, hours slept, and additional activity outside of the program. All of this information is presented in various charts and graphs giving a general idea of the user’s progress through the program. Users can also customize separate workouts if the choose, or deselect specific exercises in a preset session (though they may not replace them with others).
As with the first game, various tweaks on running in place is the primary cardio exercise. Different types of squats and jumping in place are used to focus on the legs, and weight raises or bent-over rows for the arms. Each workout session has a warm-up and cool down period with a variety of stretches. Floor exercises are included, ranging from push-ups and sit-ups to yet more stretches. As with the first title, minigames are also used as part of the exercises. These include basketball, mountain biking (more squats), and boxing. Additional games (such as dodge ball and soccer) are available on the Xbox/Kinect, and Balance Board games (such as mountain boarding) exclusive to the Wii. A global setting (easy, medium, and hard) affects the intensity of all workouts, directly raising the number of reps or time spent on the virtual track.