April Fool’s is always an amusing time of the year in the gaming industry with joke announcements and comedy content often releasing for the masses to enjoy. Cuisine Royale is one such joke spawned from an April Fool’s Day surprise, however should you spend just a little time with the kitchen themed adventure will find that Cuisine Royale not only brings a serious amount of comedy value, but also a more than capable Battle Royale experience.
With World War II shooter Enlisted at the centre of the development team Gaijin’s focus right now, it’s hard to believe that Cuisine Royale is as good as it is, especially given it joins the ranks of what has very quickly become an over saturated Battle Royale field. Cuisine Royale is a Battle Royale venture in which up to 50 players – possibly more but it’s hard to tell – jump into battle before running around and doing the usual; searching, scavenging and collecting whatever gear can be found. From there they move towards the centre of a shrinking play area courtesy of an ever encroaching circle of death. So far, it’s your typical Battle Royale experience.
What makes this one quite the catch however is that, despite looking surprisingly good with visuals better than that of well established Battle Royale title PUBG, Cuisine Royale doesn’t take itself seriously. However, it’s the wacky madness within that makes the whole experience feel much more accessible.
Cuisine Royale starts things off slightly differently to that of others in the genre, by skipping on the whole plane/airship/flying bus intro section of each match by instead starting players off on foot, in a random spot on the battlefield. Now the confusion to the exact number of players able to jump in to one game stems from the fact that in its current Game Preview state, Cuisine Royale allows players to get straight into the thick of it from the moment the match begins. However, should there be less than 50 players, more players seem to be able to join the fight for a good few minutes from the start of the battle, meaning even if you start with 30 players, and several find themselves killed very quickly, there may still end up being 50 players later on. This does seem to stop eventually, but when that is, or what causes players to be unable to join, I haven’t been able to fathom.
Now for anyone who seems confused by that mechanic you’re not alone and whilst it’s interesting in the first few games to see players filling gaps in what would otherwise be a small game with only few players, it would be nice to know that with every killing, it is at least thinning the number of players, rather than simply proving canon fodder for the early players until the game populates.
Onto the gameplay though and the next thing that separates Cuisine Royale from the rest is the armour. Whilst the many weapons you’ll find are faithful World War II weapons that we all know and love – the MG42, the Kar 98k and the MP40, for instance – the real game changer are the pots and pans. You see, whilst Body Armour is indeed present, albeit rare to find, the main things you’ll be utilising as armour in this one are your typical kitchen pots and pans – be it a colander for your helmet, or a frying pan for your buttock’s protection.
Then of course you have the additional items you can find, such as a pair of bunny slippers that allow you to bounce with a spring in your step; these can bring a huge giggle as you hop on to the roof of a building as your opponents are running around underneath you. The IV drip of regeneration that can be attached to your back to give a little extra health is one that had me smirking as I lay in the bushes.
These items ensure the game has a comedic value, yet there is also a sense of ‘realism’ in the fact that the more pots and pans you have covering your limbs for protection, the more you can be heard by your opponents. See, comedic items also have their own specific noise that can give away your position as you try to blend as best as possible amongst the shrubbery and the trees.
If there was any criticism besides players being able to join after the match has already begun, it would have to be in the looting. It’s not difficult to find items, with most buildings usually having something of use, but actually picking up items can be a little finicky, especially when you find several items grouped together. In fact it can be incredibly awkward to get the item you actually want without first picking up everything and then dropping the things you’re not interested in.
On the whole though Cuisine Royale is way better than anyone expected it to be. It’s surprisingly smooth, gunplay feels brilliant, and with Squads, Duos and Solo already possible, the game modes players usually cry out for are already fully included. What’s more is that with visuals that outshine even that of PUBG and some fantastic comedic value to be had to ease the usual tension of a Battle Royale game, Cuisine Royale is currently right on track to become a bit of a dark horse.
With a few tweaks and improvements, there’s no reason why this couldn’t become one of the better Battle Royale titles on Xbox One.