Cook,Serve,Delicious 3 is the latest cooking title from Vertigo Gaming. Well received and well loved with a firm fan base from previous titles in the series.
In this new version with extra tweaks from the standard gameplay of the last two and additional improvements,the premise is set for the best title yet.
Our story starts in 2041,and some Armageddon type scenario,nuking large parts of the world and leaving the survivors of small cooking companies (please bear with me!) forced to abandon their restaurants and restart trading in mobile cooking vans.
After your skyscraper built empire is raised to the ground. Two robot rescuers in a van just happen to pull your trapped body from the rubble,and offer to aid you and help rebuild your cooking empire from the safety of their van.
Yes,it’s utterly ridiculous and intensely laughable. A story not unlike when Terminator met Hells Kitchen,or something that’s tempting and begging the line ..”eat out with fallout!”
It should ring alarm bells and cause immediate worry and caution but in this case,I’m pleased to say..ignorance is bliss. Because what follows is gameplay that is not half baked,washed up or lost by choppy performance issues.No,and luckily,it’s an experience that’s more Michelin star than just five star !
You can either play the campaign solo or with a friend in couch co-op. The campaign itself, involves driving your van to different destinations with stops on the way in order to serve customers.
2 modes are available and can be changed any time in the campaign.. “Standard” mode carries the best rewards but includes meal timers and added dilemmas like keeping customers happy and avoiding getting them angry and damaging your van!
If this seems too much for you to handle,the second option is “Chill”mode.Where timers are slower,no customer moods to worry about in a generally more relaxed environment but at the cost of lesser rewards and bonuses.
A tutorial mission is up first to take you through the basics but like with most of these type of games.The goals are basically the same. Cook various dishes from your pre set menu to customer order,serve,get money,complete all orders and then drive to the next stop..repeat.
As you approach each stop,you also have a limited time to “prep”and cook pre ordered dishes that can boost your final score and gain bonuses. Apart from your set menu,this adds an added element of excitement and engagement as you aim to get the best possible result from each service at each stop.
Cooking itself can be a bit daunting if you’re a newbie like me,but it soon works out with practice.
Y highlights the left menu on the side,for dishes ordered,cooked and extra bonus dishes needing to be cooked. Your cooking stations on the top menu are highlighted with X,and pulls down the food menu with triggers L and R held with the relevant buttons to pick ingredients,add and finally cook. Successful orders granting coin and positive feedback.
Take too much time however,and the orders disappear,customers get irritable and food starts to get dated and stale.
On the main map,certain stops can carry objectives like having a certain grade dish to serve or a certain type of food themed menu,like fried food or desserts only. There’s over 200 dishes in this game. That range from basic dishes like poached or boiled eggs,to standard dish, fried chicken nuggets,meatloaf,curry etc,and up to the more exotic and complex dishes from all around the world. English,American,Indian,Chinese or Thai to name but a few,that’s pretty much catered for all tastes and impressive in its scale and variety.
I really like the fact you can customise each menu to your own taste.A starter,main and dessert or just cook all fast and quick fried food,it’s really up to you.
Completed destinations carry bonuses each time with medals awarded for quick and efficient service and friendly feedback from customers.Completionists can only get gold medals in “standard” mode though.
As well as that, we get coin awarded,Xp for our chefs ability meter and in some destinations,bonus van parts…
The chefs ability meter is probably the most important factor to consider. You can buy extra dishes with the coin you earn to unlock and add to your menu but you must also be at the correct ability level to cook it! Higher graded meals carry better coin and bonuses but it’s really down to replaying previous destinations and “grinding the saucepan” to get to the level to cook them.
Also,at chef level 3 you unlock the ability to decorate your van. Purely aesthetic it’s good there’s an option to add colour and decals and customise purely to your own personal taste.
Reach level 5 and you can unlock the “upgrade the van”option. This carries the standard skill tree options and can have relevant areas activated with the van part bonuses you collected through successful destination completions. This allows you to expand a wealth of extra help and boosts,like gaining extra food stations,upgrading current kitchen equipment and extra time bonuses in food preparation and keeping cooked dishes fresher for longer.
Paying the bill and leaving …
Cook,Serve Delicious 3 is a delicious slice of gaming action that surprises from its blend of ingredients and how those ingredients are fused together.
Graphically it can seem generally pasty in parts,and it’s not going to overly impress in quality graphics or colour.But where the visuals need to work and that is on the food itself and especially the ingredients that make that up,it does exceptionally well and everything looks well detailed and realistic enough to create that impression.
The soundtrack itself is amazingly vibrant and upbeat with some great musical numbers from award winning composer Jonathan Geer,which leaves the general gameplay itself…
Boasting some 380 levels with gameplay exceeding the 100 hour mark,if you seek gold medals at every destination.There’s a huge chunk of content to play through and experiencing a hugely enjoyable time with this game..it’s a totally addictive gem of a title that comes highly recommended…
Cooked to perfection !
Thanks to Vertigo gaming for the code.