Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Review
Cook, Serve, Delicious! was a surprise hit for me. A cooking/restaurant simulator never really sounded like a game I wanted to play. Then, I saw it in action and knew immediately that I needed it. It quickly became an obsession - a game I would play for an hour a day. A game I would look forward to getting home from work just so I can play a couple of in-game days and take my restaurant to the next level. When the sequel was announced, I knew immediately it would be a day one buy. With a tonne more food, a campaign that promises 60+ hours and improved gameplay, is Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! the creme de la creme of cooking games?
The game takes place in a tower, each floor contains a different restaurant that caters to different needs. Each level takes place over one in-game day where you are the sole employee on shift. You have to cook the food, serve it perfectly and keep the restaurant in running order. Your goal is to achieve a perfect day - no mistakes. That is easier said than done.
The first restaurant unlocked is the wonderfully named, Max Wieners
To create food you have to perform a series of button combinations that corresponds with what the customers want. You can play with the keyboard - which is easier for most people - or a controller - which apparently is only easier for me. If you press the wrong button or choose the wrong ingredient then the customer will not be happy with their order and you will lose your combo. There is no way to fix a mistake which is both a bad thing because mistakes are easy to make but also it adds to the hectic nature of the game.
At lunch and dinner time you will be faced with a rush hour. This will cause the restaurant to fill up and you need to deal with every one of them perfectly at the same time. Later on, you could be dealing with a dozen orders at the same time. Luckily, some food items, like chicken nuggets, can be cooked before time so you're not wasting time during rush hour preparing one order of nuggets. It is a new addition to the series and one that seems daunting at first but quickly becomes invaluable.
Campaigns require you to work a certain amount of days - each one the menu will change slightly - and depending on how many orders you do perfectly you can get either a bronze, silver or gold medal. A perfect day in campaign mode will give you a gold medal and a warm feeling in your heart. Your heavily beating heart. The heart that probably has a whole year less of living than you had at the start of the game. This game is stressful in the best way possible.
It accurately paints a picture of what it is like to work in a busy restaurant - non-stop work, things going wrong everywhere, someone might be crying (usually me) and angry, hungry customers. You can keep customers waiting for longer by cooking side dishes, like fries and bacon. However, if you fail to cook someone's order quickly enough and they will leave red faces in their trail as they walk out in disgust. Same goes if you leave it cooking for too long.
You level up as you play and this helps unlock decorative items for your own restaurant. You start off with an ugly, unpainted store but can soon personalize it with your own taste in decor. This can extend to the menu which you have complete control of. Fancy running an Italian joint? You can! A steakhouse? Sure thing! Want to sell nothing but breakfast? Pfft, as if you need to ask. The amount of customization is wonderful and a welcome change to the comparatively small amount in the original.
I've gone for a Steakhouse-like restaurant here but there is a lot of freedom to be had
However, there are features missing between the two games that would have been nice to carry over. The original had silly features like an e-mail hub and a dating minigame that, while pointless allowed us to be more involved in the universe of CSD. In addition, certain aspects of the game have been simplified - you no longer have to upgrade your kitchen to be able to cook certain things. This is more of a plus, it allows more freedom right out the gate.
Graphically, the game is not perfect. The food items generally look really good and can make a player hungry just looking at them. The customers, however, tend to look slightly off - it is a different art style between the people and the food which doesn't help. In terms of menu navigation, it's hard to see what icon is meant to represent what action and it is very much bare bones.
There are also certain aspects of the game that are missing - such as seeing the effects certain food items have on gameplay - but the one-man development team has promised constant updates and free content in the future that should address this. However, CSD 2 is currently in need of some extra polish but a perk of modern gaming is the fact that polish can come out retroactively.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is still a wonderful game though. A tense, heart-attacking inducing and difficult game for sure - but wonderful. If cooking and serving thousands of meals, drinks, and snacks over many, many hours of gameplay is your thing and you don't mind a little bit of stress then CSD 2 is great value for money at $12.99. Yeah, it doesn't quite feel finished in the polish department but that can be fixed and it doesn't take away from the fact that Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is simply fun as hell.
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