I love a good meal. I just can't help but eat whatever is placed in front of me. Because of this, I found myself attracted to the quirky and fun Cook, Serve, Delicious!, which saw me making food and managing a restaurant. Naturally, I had to hop right into a sequel, and I bought it on PC and had quite a bit of fun. About a year later Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! hopped over to PlayStation 4 and I want to give the game even more of my time, which is pretty high praise. So let's dive back in for another round of being a chef.
While there's not much story in Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!, there are 33 restaurants that you can work in. Each of these restaurants has a genuinely hilarious written history for you to read. Max Wieners was originally named All Wieners until they got sued by a Miami gay bar, Biggs Burger rose to fame thanks to its allowance of violence on its property until an exposé called Suckerpunch Me caused it to change its ways, Gree/Itali's big claim to fame is that it was Mussolini's favorite place to eat, while Breakfast & Breakloose has a new owner that clearly doesn't understand why the restaurant has a cult following and is about to crash it hard. Each time I unlocked a new place to work I ran to read about it, usually smiling as I got through each absurd description.
The basics are that each of the many foods at your disposal has different recipes. You can put between three to six items on your menu, and patrons will ask for one of many variations. Each time a customer approaches, you have a limited window to make their food. They also want their food made a specific way. For example, let's say you put burgers on your menu. Some customers may want little more than meat and cheese. Others may also ask for lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. One particular customer requested a burger with three meat patties, two slices of cheese, and bacon on a pretzel bun.
It's how you go about topping these foods that is the major difference between the PC and PlayStation releases. On PC, you hit letters corresponding to each ingredient. For example, you'd hit "C" to put on cheese, or "L" to put on lettuce. It takes a bit of practice, and not all ingredients may have the letter you expect. Woe be the day something has an option for both hot sauce or horseradish. Still, I was able to adapt before long. With a controller, each ingredient appears in a little menu evenly split into two columns of four. You select an option by holding down either the right or left trigger and hitting the corresponding face button. It's certainly more complicated, and not quite the best replacement for the keyboard. Even so, I was able to sling food with the best of them before long.
You'll want to serve food to customers as quickly as possible, as the longer they stay in the restaurant the fewer customers you can serve. Furthermore, they're only willing to wait so long before they leave, resulting in bad reviews and less profitable runs. Thankfully, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! introduces a new feature to help you deal with this. Holding stations allow you to either prep some food in advance, allowing you to skip cooking steps or even entire recipes, or fill them with appetizers that earn you more money and cause customers to stick around longer. Filling up each of these stations before a rush hour is always a smart move, and they're absolutely necessary if you want to serve food in a timely fashion. It's a great new feature and one that helps the sequel stand out from the original.
Generally, there are two ways to play Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!. Each of those 33 restaurants is looking to hire a chef, so you can hop in and start cooking right away. Here, the menus come preselected and you don't have to worry about management. Your only goal is jumping into the kitchen and serving guests. This will ultimately serve as a traditional campaign for those who aren't quite into the idea of actually managing their own restaurant. If you're just here to cook, there's a lot of cooking to be done and each location can easily keep you occupied for quite a while.
If you want to be more hands-on in how the restaurant runs, you can then play with the titular Cook, Serve, Delicious! restaurant. Here you'll get to choose exactly which foods to serve. Each potential delicacy has advantages and disadvantages that can attract or turn away potential customers. Some foods perform better at breakfast, or late at night. Others make more trash and cause you to have to dump garbage more often. You try to balance which foods to serve to maximize customers while making the least amount of work. It becomes a game in of itself.
As you advance, you'll earn money which you can use to unlock new foods for you to play with. What starts as a relatively small selection eventually grows into over 200 different items. It seems like every culture has some sort of representation here, to the point where Super Smash Bros would blush. Each food feels unique in its cooking. I always felt the need to pay attention to every little detail when it came to picking ingredients. You also can earn decorative items for your restaurant along the way, letting you deck it out to look exactly how you like.
I have to commend Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!'s fantastic soundtrack. From the opening theme, which features various people saying "Cook", "Serve", and "Delicious" in various absurd tones, to the hilariously dramatic rush hour music, every song made me smile. Even the simple tunes between the rush hours are great, offering up a zen-like tune to keep me going. While I loved the sounds, some of the graphics felt off-putting. The food all looks great, as it should, but many of the people looked like they belonged in a flash game. It's a bit weird, but not a huge issue at least.
The real issue is that I can't get enough of Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!. I'll admit I had the most fun in the campaign. It was a blast going from restaurant to restaurant cooking up whatever weird meal they served. However, you'll still get a kick out of it if you're just looking to run your own place. Once they master the controls, players will find an extremely delightful game here.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! offers up a wok full of cooking fun. Once you get the controls down you'll be remembering lamb sauce with the best of them.
- Hilarious Restaurant Stories
- Fun and Varied Campaign
- Tons of Food to Cook
- Neat Management
- Great Soundtrack
- Controls are Tough to Learn
- Sometimes Iffy Graphics