|System: Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ludia||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Both the kitchen and the dining area are nicely detailed, but it's too bad the scenery doesn't change more throughout the game. Customers appear bland in contrast to the extremely lifelike Ramsay. Surprisingly, his voice work and likeness really make the experience a lot more enjoyable. Also, all the text in the game is very small and hard to read, but the inclusion of actual recipes, including ingredient lists and directions on how to make them, is a really cool touch.
Hell's Kitchen's lengthy main cooking campaign can be explored either solo or cooperatively. The latter lets two players wielding separate Wii Remotes work together through the kitchen portion of the game. This is a fun mode, though it requires you work together closely with your partner to avoid accidentally starting dishes at inopportune times. A head-to-head mode pits players against each other in hardcore kitchen matches. Aside from dropping you into the midst of a chaotic cooking scene full of pots and orders, the interesting trick here is only the player who prepared an ingredient can use it. Since only one of each ingredient is available for prep at a time, this creates an intensely cut-throat competitive cooking atmosphere.
Ramsay might get paid to be a total jerk, but his psychotic bravado lends a great deal of excitement to the culinary gaming genre. Admittedly, casual cooking games can be extremely addictive, but few turn up the heat as much as Hell's Kitchen. Getting cursed out because customers are getting $@%*# impatient or because you nearly set the $@%*# kitchen on fire is always worth a chuckle. Whether you follow the show religiously or not, this kitchen of malevolent design is definitely worth cooking in.
CCC Staff Contributor