Now We’re Cooking

Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked
Reviewed On
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Listen, I gotta be real. I ain’t no kind o’ cook. I do eggs, I do toast, I do the microwave like most but, honestly, no kind of cook am I. But I have to say that my extremely limited cooking know-how may have went up a few IQ points thanks to Namco Bandai’s new Food Network game, "Cook or Be Cooked."

Cook or Be Cooked is NB’s newest hip cooking game that has so far proven itself to be all of fun, entertaining, and intuitive. The game includes over 30 simple and delicious recipes straight from Food Network and is packed with tons of tips and techniques provided from the pro chefs themselves. Most of all there is a good challenge and competitive aspect to the game that really makes the whole experience a lot of fun.

The game looks good out of the box and boasts a pretty cool user interface. Players will spend much of their time learning their way around the kitchen atmosphere getting to know the place, plus becoming adept with all the cool tools of the trade. One of the most standout features, visual wise, is the fact that the food looks so good. I actually built up a bit of an appetite while cooking up some virtual breakfast one morning. Is there something wrong with me? Don’t answer that.

The game’s intuitive voice feedback and constructive criticism from Food Network stars, Susie Fogelson and Mory Thomas, themselves do a lot to boost the realism of the kitchen as they critique your every move and help keep you focused on the tasks at hand.

Sight and sound are the two most critical essentials of success when learning or refreshing yourself about the do’s and don’t of the kitchen.

Cooking on the Wii is actually a lot of fun, at least with this game. The innovative controls of the system make tasks such as flipping, chopping, slicing, dicing, pouring and even seasoning both a moderate challenge and realistic experience while navigating around the kitchen. Using a series of quick hand swipes, circular or repetitive arm motions or often the simple twist of the wrist you’ll be cooking like the pros in no time.

Allowing players to truly own their actions the game often times rewards you for accurately performing on screen movements, and then at other times harshly penalizes you for the slightest of miscalculations.

But, of course, there’s more to Cooked or Be Cooked than just re-enacting cooking basics via a few simple hand gestures. Players have to implement a bit of strategy into their cooking, as time will play a huge factor in the success or failure of the challenges. A lot of the meals consist of a number of dishes, most of which you must coordinate in such a way that the whole meal comes out hot and fresh all around the same time.

A big part of your score will be based off the end product of your meal so players will have to strategize and plan out their various dishes to achieve the results they want. It’s the combination of both timing and precision as well as a subtle hint of strategy that really make the Cook or Be Cooked experience a lot of fun.

The game also boasts a pretty cool multiplayer facet. You can play alone, cook alongside, or even go head to head against all your friends — all of which prove to be quite entertaining.

All in all, Cook or Be Cooked turns out to be a good experience with solid game play mechanics and a mildly addictive element of fun. More importantly, I may have dramatically improved my real world cooking skills and for that feat in itself the game deserves much kudos.

Only time will tell, but to any avid watchers of the Food Network, or savvy chefs of the kitchen, or even any scrub cooks out there like myself, this is a game you owe it to yourself to try out at least once. Just don’t play it when you’re hungry.

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