Review: Order Up (Playstation 3)

Order Up
Developer: Supervillain Studios
Publisher:UTV Ignition Games
Genre: Cooking
Released: March 1, 2012

Whomever it was that decided the best thing to do with Motion controllers was to force you to shake it furiously this way and that, to waggle it if you will, deserves to be hung drawn and quartered. These games, with their total lack of ingenuity, have forced themselves onto the world thanks to the success of the Wii and the ease of porting games from the Wii to the more powerful Playstation 3. Is Order Up just another of these games?

You start by picking your Chef, either a male or a female, who then gets immediately dropped out of the plane you are flying in onto the dumpster of the local fast food joint, which is conveniently hiring. Sensing an opportunity you rush inside to dazzle them with your culinary mastery. While doing this you also happen to learn the basics on how to play the game.

After discovering that working fast food isn’t the way to fame and riches, you quit and buy your very own restaurant. You start with some very basic dishes in a run down diner, and then slowly build up the quality of your menu and the dining experience in general until you are a 4 star restaurant. Once you gain that fourth star you are immediately faced with a food critic who will grant a fifth star if you impress him enough. Doing so will open up another restaurant for you to buy somewhere else in the town of Port Abello. Yes really. Like the cheese. Anyway, this pattern repeats itself four more times, with each new restaurant opening up a new segment of the typical dining experience. You’ll get a Mexican restaurant, an Italian restaurant, an Asian restaurant and finally a French restaurant. Once you’ve completed the mastery of all these styles of cooking you will be entered into an Iron Chef like event, called Fortified Chef. Here you will duel with the champion, which happens to be whichever Chef you didn’t pick at the beginning, and then finally defeat the Fortified Chef originator, who takes umbrage at you if you happen to beat the champion.

The graphics are certainly on par with a port of a 3 year old Wii game. The characters all look like a cross between Muppets and Jelly Beans, and the food is a rough approximation of what it looks like in real life. It’s running in high def now, something the Wii can’t manage, but I don’t think there’s anything else here that the Wii can’t do.

So onto the meat and potatoes of the game. Using the motion controls of the Move, you are tasked with performing certain motions to achieve the desired results. Slicing, dicing, grilling, boiling frying, wrapping and mashing, all have their own method of waggling. Success comes from getting good enough at cooking that you can switch between items as they cook and finishing them all around the same time, as a dish that is served cold (like revenge) won’t receive a big tip. As your restaurant receives more stars more customers will come in to order, and you will have to cook more items at the same time. You will only ever have to serve one table at a time, but each table can have up to four guests, meaning four meals for you to make. Get them all eating happily and the money will flow like wine at a Roman wedding reception.

Soon after you take over your first restaurant you will be able to hire your first assistant. You can have two assistants at a time helping you in the kitchen. These assistants are good at most things but excellent at one thing. If you get the right people in your kitchen it can help greatly. I personally found Ichiro, the Japanese Assistant Chef to be the most useful, as I found slicing things to be tedious and that is his specialty. Plus his dialogue amused me. Whichever assistants you chose remember that when being tested by the food critic you will have zero assistance, so being able to perform all of the food preparation yourself is a required skill if you want to finish the game as a grand chef or whatever.

The music that plays while you are cooking is generally something that sounds appropriate to whichever type of ethnic food you happen to be serving at the time. So the Italian restaurant will have a mandolin, or at least something that sounds like a mandolin, while the American diner will sound more rock and roll. The waiters will also have an accent based on which restaurant you are working in. I didn’t think it sounded offensive in any way but in this age of political correctness I’m not sure I would have chosen to fill the game with quite so many stereotypical voices. Lastly the game would occasionally switch from stereo to surround. It was mildly distracting at first, then annoying. It made me wonder if it was my set up going screwy or the game. Then I would play another game, say Battlefield 3, in full surround and have nothing go wrong, so I don’t know what happened there.

That wouldn’t be the only bug I ran into while playing the game either. On occasion the game would lose track of the Move, even though it was right there in front of the Playstation Eye. When I pressed the Playstation button to bring up the XMB the cursor would still move in the pause menu below. I had food vanish from the screen that allows to you to choose between accepting it or tossing it in the trash. Even more annoyingly I had food vanish when I was taking it from the assistant who made it. Both times the game would not accept that there was no longer any food, and the only solution was to exit the game.

Aside from these bugs, the biggest issue I had with the game was the tedium of it. Playing a shift feels very much like working a shift. The developers do try to liven things up a little with the occasional mini game. This will involve a food inspector coming to watch you wash your dishes, dealing with a sudden rat infestation, or ironically, waking up your assistant who has fallen asleep. Some other mini games popped up, like sharpening your knife and chopping food as it flies through the air Fruit Ninja style when trying to shop at the local spice vendor.

Something that occurred to me as I was slaving away over my virtual stove trying to make enough money to purchase my next restaurant: Why are my other restaurant’s all doing nothing to get me more money? Why can I not assign an assistant to run the place while I’m off building up my next place? The game appears to have everything needed to make that possible, and yet the only thing these restaurants do when you’re not in them is collect dust it seems.

The Scores
Story: Bad
Graphics: Poor
Sound: Bad
Control and Gameplay: Above Average
Replayability: Poor
Balance: Poor
Originality: Bad
Addictiveness: Dreadful
Appeal Factor: Bad
Miscellaneous: Bad
FINAL SCORE: PRETTY POOR

Short Attention Span Summary
Even though it’s a waggle game, I went into this with an open mind. Had it been more entertaining and less like actual work I might have been more willing to overlook it’s shortcomings. Sadly all this game really made me want to do was go into a real kitchen and satisfy all the cravings playing with virtual food encouraged.

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