I was a little skeptical about the new "Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011" video game for the Nintendo Wii before I tried it.
When, I looked on the back of the box cover, I read that this was not your standard-fare exercise video game with a virtual celebrity coach pushing you through a routine. This game is built around a story line.
Call it an exercise role player.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to become a super spy who tries to help Jillian destroy one evil corporation that pushes processed food to the public and another one that makes what sounds a lot like soda to me.
You begin by training for your missions. The stretching stuff is good. It felt pretty good. If you have a balance board, you can use it a lot here and it will help track stats. Using those, you can set up workout routines for the week.
As with most of these exercise games, you have an on-screen avatar (that also holds a Wii-Mote). This helps you do the exercises properly during training. The remote will turn yellow (caution) or red (stop and do it better) when you do the exercises incorrectly. Do them properly, and it's green. That's a neat way to stay on cue.
So after you've completed enough training, you can begin your "mission" and try to stop a company that makes processed food that makes people sick, and then makes medicine to make them feel better (sound familiar?). I was fine with this game until I got to the Mission Mode. There's nothing wrong with the exercises really, and there are enough variations to give a pretty decent workout to the general population.
But there are problems trying to make exercises fit into an RPG (role-playing game). Why do you have to do jumping jacks to make a door pop open? And we could've used a little on-screen help, like the training avatar, to know how to do some of the movements required during the mission - and to know at which pace to perform them.
There are nine missions plus one "ultimate mission." You have to do 20 minutes or so of exercise in each one, to allow your on-screen character to accomplish goals. And you can't skip to the next mission unless you complete your current one.
However, the game could provide a little help in what you're supposed to accomplish. And I got a little upset that as I got halfway through a mission and didn't perform an exercise properly, Jillian would send me back to training and I had to start the whole process over again.
There are a lot of exercise video games on the market, and I think many of them can help you get into a little better shape. I wouldn't rely on them solely.
I think that "Fitness Ultimatum 2011" is trying to go about it a different way, with the story mode, and with a little tweaking here and there - and a little more instruction in the Mission Mode itself - the next version could be the hit D3 Publishing hopes it to be.