Order Up!! PS3
So, I’ve always wanted to enjoy a virtual kitchen sim on the PlayStation [No, cooking in The Sims does NOT count]. While Order Up!! was released to the Wii audience back in 2008, UTV Ignition pleasantly decided to give us their full culinary-masterpiece, repackaged with Move support. As much as I want to appreciate Order Up!! for its genre-defining qualities, the game simply suffers from a bad case of repetition and over-simplification and leaves a taste in my mouth more bitter than my morning coffee.
So, with that aside let’s have a look into graphics. It seems that this time around, UTV has sharpened up the character models and food objects to make them more visually-pleasing from a PS3 perspective. While the revision is appreciated, it really doesn’t cover what still looks to be a very dated game. At heart, the title is a port and as such it retains a graphical engine composed for the Wii and definitely shows it. Food [and your character] can look quite jagged at times. On the flip side, the color scheme is as warm as the original. Even if it isn’t 2008 anymore, I have to applaud UTV for their impressive work of making something that could have been as dull and drab as a cooking sim colorful and inviting.
As I’ve mentioned above, this title is a port through and through. Even down to the controls, Order Up!! on the PS3 is derived from its Wii big brother. You’ll find the control scheme untouched, save some reassigning of buttons and motion movements to better fit your controller of choice. A word of advice – do not attempt to play this title if you’re not using a Move controller. As tasks become more and more frantic, you’ll find that slowly navigating across the screen with the left analog stick to handle the more difficult maneuvers in such a short timespan will be something of a hell. Because of this, it’s obvious that the developers really pushed Move support as the biggest addition of the port. There aren’t even sensitivity adjustment settings for pad users, so beware. Though all of this has been stated, I should also mention that motions like chopping and grating can be done by shaking the pad itself during the food preparation process, though I advise against this as well. Due to the low sensitivity for pad motion control, users will most likely find themselves attempting to flip a burger, but will instead hit themselves in the face [like I did].
Gameplay is extremely simple, just as it was 4 years ago. After being taken through a tutorial where your character is hired [and quits] a position at a fast food restaurant, he gets a loan from the bank and opens his own diner. After a day or two of working the kitchen alone, you’ll be able to purchase sous-chefs who can assist you in performing certain steps for a dish. Getting food out of the actual kitchen is a breeze, as simple actions like pulling lettuce leaves or slicing tomatoes for a burger. Dialogue is absolutely hilarious as customers of all shapes and sizes walk into your establishment, seating themselves at a table for your service. I once had a patron exclaim, “I need a snack…and a meal…and another snack”. Humor like this is refreshing and keeps the interest of the play for some time, but the repetition in cooking meals simply does not. While you will unlock a multitude of recipes and spices along the course of your travels, you will find yourself performing the same motions. Chopping carrots is no different than chopping tomatoes, and anything remotely similar to macaroni and cheese will be stirred the same.
In addition to all of this, you will find that Order Up!! is ultimately an experience tailored for a younger generation. Players aged 10 and above won’t find too much enjoyment in the simple chopping, frying, and grating that occupies the 15-minute work day in which the main game takes place. During my 4th or so play, I found myself bored not because the game is terrible or horrid, but because it simply was not challenging me at its core. No matter how many customers flooded my establishment, I was forced to sit and watch frozen patties crawl to perfect temperature on a stovetop for the same time over and over, sans the special customer or so who wanted their burger burned.
I really like the direction that Order Up!! takes cooking sims [well, the two that are on the market?]. Unfortunately, what should be a revitalizing experience in managing employees and venues falls victim to dreaded mundanity. Witty lines and charming animations become downright repetitive, and unfortunately diminish what could have been a fantastically-addicting experience for all ages. I applaud UTV for bringing a very niche genre to the PlayStation 3, complete with generous Move support, but I find the title fizzles out too quickly, and hope that their next offering comes out of the PS3 kitchen less underdone.