Cook authentic Food Network dishes in real time with feedback from some of Food Network's biggest stars.
Unlike many other cooking games, dish preparation in Food Network Cook or be Cooked! is intended to be an authentic experience. Not only is the game intended to be a mode of entertainment, but also a good cooking tool that realistically guides players through the preparation of a home cooked meal.
There are thirty recipes contained in the game, and each one is a real recipe taken from the Food Network's very own cook book. The kitchen, tools, and utensils players will use to prepare their digital meals are all created to look as realistic as possible. Not only are the graphics intended to provoke a feeling of realism but all of the minute details players follow as well. All of the cooking temperatures, times, ingredients, and cookware used in the game are what players would actually use in real life to replicate the same meal. During certain sections of meal preparation indicators such as "too hot" or "too cold" will indicate that the player must adjust cooking temperature. The game itself, especially the first time through, is more of a training tool than a game. If players desired, the second play through can even be used as a cook-along.
The cooking times for all meals runs in real time, so if a steak requires fifteen minutes between preparation and completion, fifteen real minutes will tick by. However, if players do not desire to sit for fifteen minutes while their digital steak sizzles, pressing the "-" button fast forwards. Many times during a recipe, there will be more than one item that must be completed in order to fully finish the meal. At the beginning of each level there is an amount of time indicating how long from start to finish it should take to prepare that one food item in particular, and players should pay close attention to these times. All food items that complete a meal should be finished in close proximity to one another in order to have created a hot meal. As players finish each step that goes into preparing the meal, they will receive points that will count towards their final meal rating.
Once the entire meal is prepared, it will be evaluated by a famous Food Network chef who will give players feedback on their performance. Players will be evaluated on their accuracy, speed, and overall performance. If a player manages to acquire the gold chef hat, they are the ultimate chef and have perfected a meal.
While it is important to be quick, Food Network Cooked or be Cooked! is still very much focused on realism, and any attempt to rush through a step will result in a slip up. For example, if players try to shake the salt shaker too fast, the cap will come off and the dishes score will be lowered.
After having played through one recipe in the demo it was obvious that the controls were smooth and truly gave the player a sense of realism. Each cooking step took me through a more realistic set of cooking tasks then I have seen in any other food title. The meal was cooked from scratch until finish without any mini-game interruption or evaluation and truly captured an authentic cooking experience. Funny enough, the game was very reminiscent of Order Up!, of course the meal preparation was much more realistic and it lacked the cartoony feel. I have to say that I am very excited to see the completed form of this title and I believe that it will certainly appeal to gamers of all ages and skill levels.
Food Network Cooked or Be Cooked! will also feature a multiplayer mode where two chefs can either battle one another or work cooperatively on a meal. The game is expected to release Q4 2009.