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Nintendo Wii Review: Cook Wars

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Ubisoft offers a unique cooking simulation game featuring international cultures with the affordable Cook Wars. In the Cook City community, developers have a board divided into six areas: Asian, French, Italian, USA, Mexican, and International. The cooking student characters are from Japan and France (both male) plus two females from Italy and the US (Texas). Players can enjoy different kitchens and music themes for each nationality.

This Wii exclusive game features unlockable chefs and food items vary throughout the single player and multiplayer modes. The recipes have a great presentation and color scheme, but the game doesn’t include enough recipes. The 30 mini games (grill, roll, cut, etc.) can’t quite compensate for this lack.

 

As the title suggests, the gameplay core focuses on multiplayer showdown modes using the Wii controls for each cooking task (more than 30). Each player needs a remote and nunchuk combination to slice, dice, fry and bake their dishes within the Cook City community. These multiplayer modes include 2 players vs. 2 players; 3 players vs. 1 player plus a challenge/duel mode where players can sabotage each others’ dishes when they’re not playing.

The controls provide some simple, entertaining experiences like flipping crepes then moving the remote side to side for the catch (helpful shadows make this feat easier). Even with the smooth remote and nunchuk controls, movements remain rigid and mechanical instead of realistic, so the accuracy creates a fair learning curve here. Players must adapt to the game instead of the other way around.

The graphics are surprisingly appealing and intuitive. Green arrows prompt advancement. The tutorial information, located at the top, has a nice three step format where players try by example in additional to some real time feedback and point grades. Unlock new ingredients and star chefs as you progress through the different modes. High scores unlock more cooking related games.

The Trivial Pursuit style pie chart, located in the bottom right, fills as you complete each action. It would be nice to see the finished product and have other characters taste it, so you get a reaction instead of just point results. The results still work, but just don’t match with comic theme established in the beginning cut scenes.

The chef scores are initially populated with fictitious names as players eventually add their own. Game options include several languages and sound/music volume adjustments.

Cook Wars has decent value and high cooking task variety, but a low recipe cache and diminished realism for authentic minded gamers. Movement physics focus on mechanics and timing rather than more natural motions. Several high temperature situations and hand placement would result in real life injuries so don’t view this game as a learning tool. A story mode would be great for any future installments, but the open ended challenge choice format in Cook City works well.

Cook Wars is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for alcohol reference, comic mischief, and mild suggestive themes.


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