Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 (PS4) Review

The original Cook, Serve, Delicious has been out for a while now on a number of different platforms. It’s a game in which you run a fast food establishment within a popular building and must supply the customers with their orders as fast as possible throughout the day. Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is currently out on the PC and, as of this week, the PlayStation 4. Vertigo Gaming has stuck to the tried and tested mechanics of the original game yet they’ve managed to make this sequel more intense, original, and addictive than ever before!

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 takes the well-known definition of ‘Fast Food’ and enforces that not as a description, but as a requirement to please the annoyingly picky customers. So, whether you’re an Executive Chef in the art of Cook, Serve, Delicious or just a junior Dishwasher in the genre, let’s see just what you get this time around and why playing with a controller is initially the spawn of Satan…

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Story mode!

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is a game about cooking with efficiency, speed, timing and accuracy. At first, you’ll most likely struggle with a lot of your orders, but over time you will get better as it’s more akin to memory or rhymic games than an actual cooking simulator. Whilst playing the main portion of the game (which can now be played both solo or in co-operation with another local human), the concept is simple – serve every customer who asks for food by cooking something delicious. Every now and again you also have to attend to your contractual duties such as washing the dishes, replacing the rat traps, filling up the soda machine, and throwing out the trash (which never seems to fit into the bin). 

If you’ve played the first game then the whole process will look very familiar to you as the core mechanics are the same, only on the PlayStation, the button prompts are now done via the controller, which I’ll get too… However, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 introduces the holding station, something I don’t remember from the first game (although I’ve not played that for many years). This allows you to prepare food in advance to speed up the process – such as cook eight burgers or sausages so you’re ready to create a hotdog/burger without waiting for the meat to cook, or even bake a cake in advance. This mechanic really speeds up the whole preparation process and makes the rush hour segments run a lot smoother as you can throw out orders left, right, and centre really fast! 

Also, I almost forgot, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 has a kind of ‘story mode’ to it as well. This is presented as 32 different establishments (and menus) for you to work though. Each one has up to 16 ‘shifts’ for you to cover within them as you unlock new and more advanced food whilst levelling up. Seriously, if you’re going for a 100% completion of all of the shifts within the game then you’re looking at easily over 60 hours I imagine, as each day is around 10-15 minutes! Not only that, you can actually work in your own establishment and create your own menu based on the food you’ve unlocked. Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is literally bursting at the seams with content! 

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Don’t play the game if you feel hungry – it makes it worse!

Hells Kitchen
Okay, with a much greater and diverse menu comes many more ingredients, cooking stages, and preparations to participate in. The question is, how does this equate to playing on a controller which has four face buttons and four shoulder buttons? If I’m being 100% honest, I would say that the developers have done the best they could with what they have – it’s cumbersome and easy to cock up, yet once you’re used to it then it all comes naturally and  feels more like a memory or rhymic game, as I stated earlier.

Basically, the customer’s order shoots in from the side, you press square on said order and on the right, you’ll see the ingredients/preparation menu, as well as the order down at the bottom. Simply press the stated face button for the ingredients they want whilst holding either L2 or R2 (depending on which side the ingredient is on in the list – as it shows 8 items but you only have four face buttons). The instructions show up in various colours such as yellow, red and blue, so do the lists. So, if your next step is in red, release the shoulder buttons and tap Circle to move to the red menu, then make your choice. Oh yeah, there are multiple lists which you flick between whilst picking the ingredients/steps by holding a shoulder button and pressing the corresponding button. 

As I said, it can be pretty confusing at first, but once you’ve made a few burgers or pasta salads, you remember which ingredients are where, so you start getting faster and faster at it. However, this is where the frustration and difficulty comes in – I wouldn’t say it’s as difficult as Overcooked 2 (especially it’s Surf n’ Turf DLC) but it is quite a frantic and frustrating game as all the customers have a certain amount of patience which means their orders will slowly go off screen. Just one missed order means it’s impossible to get a gold medal on that level, five missed and you lose your silver as well. But, as with most games, practice and perseverance will make you much better over time.

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Plenty of venues to unlock

Where’d it go?
So, if you’ve played the original Cook, Serve, Delicious then you know the main game in that one was rather intuitive and crazy as each day you were forced to rotate your menu to meet demand, as well as remove items off the menu so people didn’t get bored of them. Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 kind of eliminates that process as you’re technically cooking everyone else’s food and menu, so the customers never get bored, right?! Wrong. I mentioned above that there is actually an option to run your own fast food joint and menu in the list of all the other places. If you opt for that one, you can pick from a variety of playing modes such as:
• the classic mode where you have to swap your menu to create more buzz and less boredom
• a Standard mode which lets you pick what you want with no preferential impactors placed within the game
• a ‘Stressful’ mode which enhances how many customers you have and can serve at a time
• a Zen mode which removes the patience of the customers and eliminates all rush hour segments

So, as well as bursting with content and food items, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is also stuffed full of juicy modes for you to play around with depending on your mood and skill level. If a particular menu is annoying you because you can’t quite master it, recreate it in Zen mode and take your time as you get better and better! Speaking of which…

Another great accessibility feature of Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is its tutorials and mini-guides. If you click on any food item, you’re taken to a zen-like mode where you have to cook that one item for a bunch of people. This is much better than just showing you a text-based guide on how to make the food in my opinion. Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 also has a bunch of actual interactive tutorials which will teach you everything you need to know to work your way up the ladder within your role.

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I love these emails…

Extra features?
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 has two extra features which are nice and entertaining but don’t really serve much in terms of game-changing mechanics. These are:

Decorating your establishment. As you progress through the game and unlock a load of new rewards (through completing things such as levelling up and performing a certain number of orders in a combo etc…), you’ll sometimes be given decoration items. This can be used in the designer mode to decorate and create your perfect venue. This backdrop is then used when you’re playing in any of the above modes in your own restaurant – it’s a nice touch and lets you create it how you like.

E-mails. Every time you complete a new shift in any of the venues, you’ll receive a few emails which can be accessed on the main menu. These range from advising you what items you’ve unlocked for decoration, to passive-aggressive emails between staff members who don’t like each other. Those particular emails are all rather enjoyable and really funny. They don’t impact the game at all, and you can play the game and never read your emails, but I thought they were a nice distraction and I always check them out after each shift to see what they are arguing about now!

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The place gets busy during rush hour

Technical
Visually, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 doesn’t look that different to the original game if I’m being honest. That’s not a bad thing though as simple aesthetics means you can concentrate on the important things at hand – the gameplay. It also makes everything instantly familiar to returning gamers who have played the original game. That begin said, I really like the cartoony drawings and the simplistic art design along with the easy to differentiate foods. 

Sound-wise, there’s no talking in the game, as there’s no dialogue as such, but the music is great. In the menus, it sounds like Musak is being played, or tunes you would expect in cheesy restaurant adverts on the TV or even within a restaurant that isn’t licenced to play music via the radio. The music in-game also helps with its various beats, so you can get into a rhythm as you pick the options for the orders – that’s why I liked it to a rhymic game as well. It’s also a pleasant soundtrack which tries to keep you calm under the pressure of the rush hour segments – I’ve always said stressful games benefit from calm music as it keeps the player engaged and stops them getting too flustered. 

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That looks lovely, but would be a bitch to eat!

Personal Opinion
So, what did I personally think of Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 on this occasion? In the past, I’ve played Cook, Serve, Delicious on PC, using the keyboard, and I found that to be much easier than Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 in terms of controlling it with a controller this time around. However, I’ve played Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 for about 10 hours or so now and I believe I’m much better at the controls than I was initially – it’s all about simply getting used to the cumbersome, yet effective, way you pick the various options. Once you become accustomed to them, you start having more and more fun as you achieve high levels of satisfaction for completing ‘perfect’ shifts. 

Many, many years ago, back when I was 18, I worked at McDonald’s for nine months in-between jobs, so I know how stressful the environment can be. However, in McD’s we had one positive difference – there was a team of us who all worked together. In Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 you’re a one-man band who is trying to do everything from removing dead rats from the traps to cooking and dressing gourmet burgers! I’ve not had the chance to try out the co-op side of Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 yet, but it looks awesome via the footage I’ve seen online as you both work at the same time in order to work on the orders independently to get them out there. 

In a way, the co-op isn’t as intense or anger fueled as we saw in Overcooked 2 as you’re not having to share parts of the process with each other – you can literally take control of a food order and do it yourself whilst someone else does another order. Yet, it still looks pretty stressful as the quicker you get through orders, the more orders come in from new customers. As such, both playing solo and in co-op should offer the same experience and enjoyment as well as offering a bit of support from a friend if you get stuck on a particular shift. One downside – it’s local co-op only, no online mode.

I love games like this though, it’s all about efficiency, memory, reflexes, and speed. I’ve actually uploaded a 45-minute video below of me playing, with no commentary, a few shifts in various fast food joints.

Check it out and if you like it, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is out on the PS4 in the USA now and in EU early 2019 (as well as on the Nintendo Switch worldwide in 2019)

My ‘no commentary’ video of a few shifts:

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is a great sequel with tonnes more content, food and mechanics to master. I always felt the original game didn’t receive as much love as it should have, as to me it was a hidden gem that a lot of people never knew existed. As such, I really hope people jump in and try out Cook, Serve, Delicious 2  for it’s fun, frantic solo and cooperative action as you aim to cook and serve delicious food to the very impatient customers. The only downside is that it takes a while to master the controls, but once you do – you’ll become an unstoppable Executive Chef (just don’t try and cook IRL with the skills you learn in the game)

If you like being pushed with manic gameplay, enjoy stressful situations as we saw in Overcooked 2, or just want a game you can both relax or become frustrated too, then Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is just sat on the holding station awaiting your purchase…

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

$12.99
9

Final Score

9.0/10

The Good:

  • - Very addictive gameplay
  • - Playable in both solo and cooperative modes
  • - Tonnes of 'shifts' and over 180 different foods to serve
  • - Delightful music which gets you in the mood for cooking
  • - Intuitive way of using the controller considering there are loads of options to select quickly

The Bad:

  • - It's hard... You'll get better but expect to start off bad and progressively get better
  • - No online capabilities in regards to playing with your friend
  • - Some of the trophies will be a bit difficult to achieve (personal opinion)

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