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Jillian Michaels’ Wii Game Not Worth the Hype

Update: Check out the Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010, completely updated!

We were as excited as everyone else to get our hands on the new Jillian Michaels for the Nintendo Wii- Fitness Ultimatum 2009. It seems anything Jillian touches turns to fitness gold. We’re huge fans of hers, and have always had nothing but nice things to say about her many other products. There’s no way to know how hands-on she was in the development of the game, if the developers rushed the job or if they did much consumer testing, either way, it doesn’t seem like much attention on any of those accounts.

When I launched the game, I was immediately struck by the graphics. That’s one of the most impressive characteristics of the Wii games. But this? Reminded me of the Duck Hunt days. Very grainy, unrefined images that didn’t reflect the quality we’ve come to expect from the Wii. We don’t want you to just take our word for it, hear the comments left on the review. “The graphics are horrible. The screen hardly moves at all when you’re exercising… you basically get to watch your avatar run/kayak/bounce in place just like you,” said Gin. Kurt agreed, “Graphics are on par with Atari I played as a kid.”

Additionally, the avatar character can be difficult to use. Your actions aren’t as easily mimicked on screen as with other Wii games. I also noticed that I could stand perfectly still and my avatar would continue working out. Gin also commented “moving all about searching for the right motion to get your activity recognized may be the biggest part of the workout!” Scott added “You can literally start the game, put the controllers on the couch and it responds as if you are actually doing the exercises while Jillian is telling you that you are doing a great job!”

The sound was also disappointing. The music wasn’t all that motivating or even something I’d choose to listen to. Jillian provides the voiceovers with motivational messages and encouragement to keep you going. Anyone who is a fan of the trainer will know that the Jillian on the game is not the one we’ve all fallen for. Whether her act on Biggest Loser is all for show or how a genuine workout with her really is, it doesn’t come through on the game. Lizzy commented “she’s TOO NICE! not the Jillian i know! I expected… her to scream at me!”

Like other players, I spent more time trying to figure how to move in a precise way that my avatar would recognize it than I did focusing on a workout. Scott suggested they rushed the job- “They obviously pushed this game out the door before they worked the bugs out of it. This by far is THE WORST Wii game I’ve ever played!”

The Wii can be a useful fitness tool if you’re pressed to find time to exercise anywhere else. Unlike other video games, this one actually encourages your kids to get up, move those little bodies and get their hearts pumping. So maybe consider one of Jillian’s fitness DVDs or the Wii Fit, but this game is likely to leave you with more frustration than calories burned.

November 18th, 2008