Posted on 06 Sep 2017 by Kyle Johnson

PAX West 2017: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

The Defence

Developer: Vertigo Gaming Inc.
Publisher: Vertigo Gaming Inc.
Genre: Action, Indie, Simulator, Strategy
Platform: Consoles, Mac, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 13 Sep 2017

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 8600
AMD equivalent
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 1 GB
DirectX:
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 60
OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 2.4 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 260
AMD equivalent
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 1 GB
DirectX:
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 60

It’s hard to quantify how alien the world that restaurateurs inhabit are to those who’ve never worked in the food service industry. In all my years spent in fast food, American burger bars, and upscale Italian kitchens, there were some universal truths to be had: stress was expected, learning opportunities were frequent, and fun was optional.

Vertigo Games’ Cook, Serve, Delcious! 2!! on the other hand is entirely fun, approachable, and yes, more than a little stressful. Replicating the stress and sense of accomplishment after a hard day’s work in a kitchen is a mountainous task, but if the demo I played at PAX West is of any indication, David Galindo and the rest of the team at Vertigo have done just that. Erik Johnson (no relation) of The Indie Bros. was on hand to guide me through my first days in the kitchen and here’s what I found.

Positioned as a “bigger and better” sequel to the first game, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! offers a vastly expanded menu, an arcade mode, full couch co-op in both the arcade modes and the campaign, more restaurants, full-featured side dishes, holding tables and more. The campaign mode wasn’t available for testing but the arcade mode was, with a number of differently themed restaurants and dishes available for play.

Mmm, tasty.

After running through the early tutorials, Erik and I dove right into the “Chef for Hire” mode. One of the many new additions to Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!, the Chef for Hire mode is essentially an arcade mode where you step into the role of a chef for a particular restaurant for a day. These restaurants can range from anything from a greasy hot dog and fast food parlor, to world café, to an authentic Chinese restaurant. You select from a pre-determined menu, and off you go. It’s designed as a way to experience foods you may not have unlocked while still providing the same challenging gameplay.

Our first victim was a fast-food joint named “Max Wieners.” Offering nachos, hot dogs, pretzels, corn dogs, and tater tots, the food here is designed to be made as quickly and as greasily as possible. After floundering through a few flubbed orders, I found myself settling into a rhythm. Dropping corn dogs and tater tots into fryers left me time to do the dishes, unclog toilets, mash together horrible abominations someone might mistake for nachos, put ketchup on said corn dogs, and grill frankfurters.

If this all sounds hectic, don’t worry – it is. It’s hectic, yet never overwhelming. If you end up struggling, Erik assured me that Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! will send less customers into your restaurant. On the flipside, if you’re doing exceedingly well, the difficulty will ramp up and with rush hours already queueing customers for food, you can get swamped very quickly.

Dishes don’t do themselves.

One important note about Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!: there are no do-overs. If you make a mistake in preparing a dish, you have to live with the irate customer. While this may not reflect real life, as kitchens screw up quite a few times a day without the customer ever noticing, Erik said the intention was to keep gameplay flowing continuously instead of having players get hung up on a complex order.

After earning some pocket change at Max Wieners, Erik stepped in for some shared screen co-op play with me at the World Cafe, a multi-ethnic restaurant. Unlike the first Cook, Serve, Delicious, here both players are full-fledged chefs with the same responsibilities and tasks. After selecting the easier of the two available menus, Erik and I were off, preparing a pig’s blood side, pineapple juice (made by throwing an entire pineapple into a blender and handing the mess to the poor customer), couscous, and more. Though chefs cannot help one another on an order, they can make way for more difficult orders to be snapped up by the more talented of the two. This way, if someone is new to the game, like I was, they can still help with the chores and getting easier orders out of the way, making for smoother service.

At the end of the day, Erik and I finished with a near perfect combo, with only one failed dish and four “okay” dishes. Better dishes mean more money and tips, and more buzz about your restaurant. These are things more relevant in the career mode, where you use your funds to take your unfinished hole-in-the-wall burger joint to a Michelin 3-star experience. Again, the campaign will be appearing in the full game only, so look forward to our review when Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! releases on September 13th.

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