After reading the reviews, I was not expecting much, mainly because others said they expected it to teach them cooking skills. (go to the bottom to read my comment on this). First, realize it is a GAME and not an instructional cooking guide. Once you get past that mindset, the game is quite decent and can be played by most everyone. The instructions are clearly given during the game and if you go through TRAINING/SCHOOL (strongly recommended at least try a few sample dishes to test your skill and to get comfortable with the motions, which are fairly realistic or representative of the task), you will do better at the game/contest part.
The game does not take into account what you choose to make, just how well you complete each task during the allotted time. The time is quite generous so as long as you get acquainted with the tasks, you will do fine. My only complaint (I am legally blind) is that when you have to trace a path onscreen, it is difficult to see. Other than that, I was able to see and complete most of the tasks. (My wife played "sous chef" for the parts i could not see well.)
Overall, it is a good game, even if it is easy to do. I assume once you move up the ranks, it will get harder.
-As for those who think they would learn to cook playing this game, use your brain! At the retail price, you cannot expect an instructional program. There would be way too much info to add that getting started playing the game would make it uninteresting to many people. This game is to get people a taste of what it might be like competing as a chef. I will say that maybe the game makers, or a competitor, would be good to make a more instructional series for those who want to learn to cook and have a Wii system. Maybe like a Julia Childs or Alton Brown series..oh wait, there is a show... called GOOD EATS and will teach you more than just how to cook.
This game is a bit boring, with no real challenges other than the pre-determined dishes and placement of the food. The game needs to be a lot more interactive, and it's not. It might appeal to some, as it kinda simulates the motions of cooking, but it's nothing short than just shaking the remote up and down, left and right... that's pretty much the game.
I really had high hopes for this game, because I love Iron Chef American in general, and Alton Brown specifically. In fact, I found out about the game from AB's website. I heard some bad things when this game came out, so I didn't buy it, and waited to try it. I have to say I'm very disappointed.
You just do the same things over and over - chop, boil, slice, mix, etc. There's not variation. It's all about how you move the Wiimote. You don't even get to plate creatively. And if you do your tasks well enough, you win the battle. And the dishes you can choose to make are all very similar, but with the "secret ingredient" thrown in. Plus, the animation is terrible! The mouths don't even move when characters are speaking. AB pops up on the screen while you're working, but only has a few phrases that play over and over, which get annoying very quickly.
And finally, the game crashed my Wii after the 6th battle. I was trying to get through the game quickly so see if it ever got more interesting. But that's enough of that.