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Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is the massive sequel to the surprise best selling original, one of the few games that gives players complete control on how they want to... read more

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview

Author: Jake Mellor
13-Sep-2017

Category: Preview

In late 2013 a surprisingly brilliant indie game hit the Steam Store in the form of restaurant sim Cook, Serve, Delicious! Nearly four years on, a sequel has been released, promising to add more than just two additional exclamation points in the title. But will Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! be as booming a success as the restaurant you aspire to own will be?

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview.
Back in 2013, there weren't that many restaurant simulators on the market. Later years have seen a few more show up, like Overcooked and VR Diner Duo (which if VR didn't make me completely nauseous, I would love to play), but the original Cook, Serve, Delicious! can boast, as indeed it does on its Steam page, that it was one of the first- a trendsetter, you may even say.

Now it's time to make room for the sequel, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!, which adds several new features, a co-operative mode, and two additional exclamation marks for me to remember to type as I talk about it.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! will be available on Steam from the 13th September, with a PS4 release to follow sometime in the future.

Story

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! sees you return to the world of the restaurant and prepare food for a procession of grumbling strangers as they enter your restaurant under the pretence they're going to get some quality grub. They'll quickly learn that behind the counter stands you, a frantic chef who attempts to juggle seven gagillion orders at once because apparently, we're too poor to hire anyone else to work with us.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Hmm, what to choose...

The basic game remains the same- you open your restaurant, you pick your menu, then you cook the food on your menu, while at the same time completing chores that the cleaners we couldn't afford to hire should be doing- these range from flushing the toilets to washing the dishes. Many of these jobs are hangovers from the original, but there are some additions: setting traps for roaches or extinguishing fires, for instance (at least, I never set fire to anything in the first game. Perhaps I was just better at it). Others have been altered slightly- washing the dishes now involves a dishwasher, rather than manual labour, as we've finally moved into the twenty-first century.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Look at all those lovely restaurants whose reputation you can go and ruin...

New to CSD 2 is the idea of working for other restaurants; you pick a restaurant, each with its own cuisine and menu, and are given a series of progressively harder challenges- though most seem to involve playing through a day, just like in your own restaurant. At the end of these, you're awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal- unless you're completely crap, in which case you get nought more than a metaphorical pat on the back, and even that's only if you decide to give yourself one. It's like the Olympics- if the Olympics involved a lot of panicking button mashing from its athletes.

Gameplay

The gameplay fundamentally remains true to the original - each item of food or drink has a different preparation method, which involves pressing a combination of buttons in order to prepare the food to the customer's satisfaction. Some are simple, while others are vastly more complex; fries simply need to be dunked into the fryer, while pizza involves layering the right sauces and ingredients on top of the correct base, then cooking it in the oven.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Today's Menu is...I dunno. It doesn't tell me.
Your menu is divided into three parts; entrees, sides, and drinks. This is different from the first game, in which everything took up one generic spot on the menu. Sides can be prepared in order to extend the customers' patience (before they storm of grumbling about lack of service), while holding stations can be used to pre-prepare food ready for when they're desired- everything from mains like pizzas to snacks like pretzels or corn dogs can be placed on hold, and can be a godsend for when those dreaded words appear on screen- Rush Hour (or rather, something in Japanese- which the game tells you means "The dawn of a new era of feasting is at hand", but in reality probably says "F**k you, we're making the game even harder.")

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Uh-oh. Get ready for utter chaos.
During Rush Hour, everything gets turned up a notch- the game speed, the music, your fingers' movements. Mistakes can easily be made when you're in a rush; a misclick adding the wrong ingredient to a pizza (I can already hear the customer growling "Don't you DARE put pineapple on it!), a chore going undone as you faff around with the right sauce for those chicken wings Grumpy Man #2 ordered, or undercooking meat in your hurry to get everything finished as fast as possible. And just when you think nothing worse can happen, your kitchen catches fire.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Well, this is going well...
Holding Stations are a brilliant addition which can help spare some of your sanity come the dawning of armageddon. Without them, the day largely ends prematurely with an aneurysm. Another added feature is the ability to play with a friend; and by "play with", I mean "have a joint panic attack with". Split-screen co-op is a rarity these days; it's a nice touch, and certainly makes me wish I had friends to play with, but I also wonder whether the developer felt the need to add this simply to compete with other cooperative restaurant sims now on the market. Nevertheless, it does not detract from the overall experience in any way, so I can't complain. About that, at least.

The toggle for the mode does call it "local co-op", which may suggest perhaps an online mode may be made available. This, however, I think would be inadvisable; the fast-paced gameplay means random matchmaking and connecting with people far away may only hamper the experience; shouting at your partner sat next to you to "Cook a ****ing pizza!" would have much more impact than yelling down a microphone to a random stranger who may be several seconds behind on lag, and might not take nicely to that tone of voice. This game does lend itself well to local co-op; online co-op, however, I can't picture.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Double the fun, or double the trouble?
The game can be controlled three ways- mouse, keyboard and controller. Honestly, I'm not sure which is easiest. The mouse can be used to quickly select the right ingredients without the risk of accidentally hitting the wrong button (there's no going back!), but it can be a nightmare trying to click in the right places at the right time, especially when Rush Hour comes. There is a keyboard shortcut for each individual item, but they're not always the most logical; if multiple items begin with the same letter, for inexample, the key for "tomato" may actually be "o". It's also perfectly easy to hit the wrong key by accident, therefore ruining both the meal and your streak.

Graphics and Sound

There's honestly nothing much to say here; the game has the same charming look present in the first game, and the same satisfying sound effects accompany each action, from the sizzle of a deep fat fryer to the flushing of a toilet. The customers utter a miscellany of grunts and grumbles which make them sound like mute drunks; though considering their tendency to order alcohol at 7 in the morning, I wouldn't be surprised if they were.

There does seem to be an increase in the number of sprites compared to the original, and there is now the addition of surrounding scenery; each restaurant has its own unique decor, complete with customers sat at booths or tables- this is in contrast to the first instalment, which always seemed rather bare. It's a nice touch that adds a surprising amount of depth to the game; I want to play in all of the different restaurants, just to see the differences between them. Do the uptown, posh ones have fine dining instalments? And what is the deal with the girl in Pizza That falling asleep? How rude!

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Preview. Wakey wakey, rise and shine, come on girl, it's Pizza time!

Conclusion

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! has built upon the groundwork that its predecessor lay four years ago, and has formed a pretty stable structure. It's challenging, fun and a whole load of variety has been added to the game with the idea of freelancing - you'll feel a certain sense of satisfaction when you obtain gold medals in the challenges. Or, I assume you will- I never found out. I'll content myself with silver for the time being. The game shows a lot of promise, and with the full release will (thankfully) come a progressive campaign mode complete with a myriad of tutorials for those that need a guiding hand to help them in their quest for restaurant domination. With the release date on the horizon, McDonald's better watch out... Jumbo Jake's will soon be taking over as the top dog in fine dining. Ha.

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