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Cook or Be Cooked doesn’t quite ascend to culinary greatness, but the core elements are surprisingly well-executed. Given more time in development, this could become a truly impressive franchise.
Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked is a good cooking game. It is fun, uses real recipes, and has decent controls, but it only has 12 different recipes to prepare, which equates to about three hours of gameplay. There's not much to do and that's the game's huge glaring miscue after that. Still, there might be some games in the genre out there with more content, but I doubt they are as enjoyable as Cook or Be Cooked.
Cook or Be Cooked succeeds at offering an entertaining cooking experience in video game form. It uses uncomplicated motion controls to successfully mimic various tasks in the kitchen, and that simplicity is aided by a mostly helpful scoring and feedback system that keeps you focused on the job at hand. The result is a game that makes it fun to learn the basics of a new recipe before you try it out in your own kitchen. Though the limited number of dishes and extremely modest replay value is a major strike against its overall value, Cook or Be Cooked is a pleasing mixture of video game and recipe book.
Overall, the game isn't necessarily bad. It's well done for what it is meant to be, but why so short? Skilled players will only need two hours to complete this game. That includes getting gold medals and never cooking before. Also, why are there only twelve dishes? This game could use some more spice! At the very least, the multiplayer modes could have used some changes from the single player experience. The game is way too easy as well, and let's face it, cooking isn't exactly an easy thing to perfect. Granted, most of the dishes are nothing more than burgers, salads and steaks. Honestly, where are the crazy dishes like Sweet Potato-Crusted Yellowtail with Fennel and Leek Stew? There are plenty of big name dishes that should have been included in the game. There just seems no sense to include everyday eats like cheeseburgers and pancakes. All-in-all, rent it if cooking is a huge hobby. Everyone else can let this one cook.
All of the game's step-by-step recipes are available in the game, but instead of buying it, I'd recommended taking your money and picking up the actual source, the aforementioned How to Boil Water. It has the game's 12 dishes, plus a couple hundred more. Not to mention that you'll be able to appreciate the smell of real bacon coming from your kitchen as opposed to seeing it sizzle on your TV and waiting two minutes to virtually flip it with a remote.