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Unless the game's setting really turns you on and unless you're looking for something a bit less intellectually stimulating than a Sims title, you are likely to find Brooktown High lacking in depth. Then again, that would have been my read on the whole high school situation anyway, so maybe this is really the perfect simulation... In any case, it earns some points for originality, but just doesn't come up with enough in the gameplay department to be more than a footnote in gaming history. Footnote may even be too generous... an appendix entry, perhaps?
While I appreciated the Cliff’s Notes abbreviated style of gameplay, I still wish there had been more use of the school locations and more periods of interaction between the characters. The game definitely got frantic, especially the week before prom when I had been turned down by half the female student body and was searching out that one girl who I knew my Ultra-Cool move would work on. Trying to live the social life of a high school student in two "real" minutes per one virtual week is insane.
Brooktown High is a place where you want to spend a good deal of time, but the barebones gameplay, repetition in conversations, and fact that most of your success relies on exploiting these elements sucks all the fun out of this dating game. Its heart is in the right place, but it doesn't have any style or substance.
We don’t get many dating games here in the states, which makes Brooktown High somewhat unique. Unfortunately, the slow pace and lack of opportunity to actually socialize with the other students makes this a game that does little to capitalize on that fact.
Unfortunately, I mostly got the train wreck and sports blunders montages, especially on prom night. Of all the girls in the game, I courted the lesbian.
Brooktown High reinforces all the worst ideas about popularity and teenage love. The game's broad digs at school cliques don't say anything new. And the game isn't really all that sexy, either. That's because all the unpredictability that makes love so damn confounding has been replaced by strict rules that must be satisfied before potential mates can interface. There's a bit of a juggling act here, an underlying numbers game, that could engage nerds who like cracking open a game and seeing how it ticks. But the window dressing just isn't all that compelling. If it's high school adventure and woo pitching gamers are after, they should skip Brooktown High's half-assed classes and register at Bully's Bullworth Academy where the make-out sessions are hot and the social criticism cuts deep.
Would I buy this game for myself and continue playing it? No. You couldn't catch me dead. It's not that it's a terrible game, it's just not addictive, interesting, or rewarding. There are so many good games out there that I'd just rather play something else that has some more insight. My high school life was interesting enough for me that I don't need to revive it with a game that offers as little as Brooktown High does. If you think you might be interested in the game though, you could try and rent it, or buy it and sell it when you're bored! But don't say I didn't warn you! The game has little to do with your romantic skills, so don't get your hopes up!
Once you reach the end of the school year, you're provided with a quick summary of how the rest of your life panned out based on your cumulative actions in the game. How long it takes you to get through the school year can vary pretty wildly depending on how much time you spend toiling over your character's stats. Either way, it's apparent that the game really wants to be played through multiple times to see the different possible outcomes, but it's unlikely that you'll want to play through the game more than once, if even that. Without enough to do, Brooktown High ends up being as shallow as the lame caricatures that populate it.
There’s not enough gameplay and too much repetition in this high school game … perhaps in that way it’s too much like the real thing.
In closing, this could’ve been a fun, intelligent yet goofily fun way to pass a few hours. Instead, it screams of a lack of market research. Hello Konami, most players of dating sims are FEMALE. Brooktown is as aesthetically appealing to this female player as Jock Itch is aesthetically appealing to this female. Unfortunately, as usual, the developers have made the assumption that English players relate more to video game characters who are Ass Ugly, Horny, and Retarded…not necessarily in that order, but you get the picture. Seriously, the kids I know who are High School age are mostly very bright people and can participate in a conversation over a third grade level.
Sadly, Brooktown High for the PSP just doesn’t manage to bring us an innovative dating sim that’s not just interesting but fun as well. This is actually too bad since the setting feels right and so do the situations but the overall execution makes this a game that had a lot of potential of being an enjoyably different title worth the money.
Brooktown High is certainly a unique game outside of Japan, but it's also not a good one. Conversations are too repetitive, and given that they're the core element of the game it doesn't help to see the same thing over and over again. Some of the mini-games are interesting, but you rarely ever get to play them. And though it may sound perverted, a dating game where you never even see anyone hold hands is missing the boat entirely.
Controls make moving around a nuisance, and you are at once rushed and bored. That is because there isn't much to do, but what you do need to do has to happen really fast. Many of the interactions seem nonsensical - it is as though your stats place you right on the edge with some people so they seem to veer between love and hate and in the same breath tell you they want to be closer and then that they are not interested in you that way. It would be one thing if they were trying to emulate fickle behavior, but it seems like that is just incompletely implemented - like everything else in the game. My advice - skip this Senior Year ... you aren't going to learn anything useful.
If you are looking for some quirky fun or something for your tween who giggles at words like fanny and likes teen idols and billboard charts, then Brooktown High may be that perfect get away all you parents are looking for on a cross country ride. Everyone else just hit a club or bar and use the money for buying someone a drink so they can be that someone special for the night.
It's nice that Brooktown has a stat system that evolves over time, and that your skills in the four stats - charm, originality, athletics, smarts - are tied into how much you study, which after-school activities you join (all are non-interactive cut scenes), and whether you play the three lame mini-games or not (blackjack, a dancing game, and a weird kissing game where you grab hearts, avoid other obstacles, and spray breath freshener). But it sucks that whatever skills you aren't focusing on constantly plummet. Brooktown has obvious charm and we do hope for a sequel, but it's going to need to hit the books hard before we'll give it a passing grade.
Brooktown High: Senior Year came to America with a dream where dating sims could possibly make it. But it misses out on making the game a really good dating game. Something about a dating game where you don't see anyone holding hands or the makeout sessions is missing the entire point of a dating game. Brooktown High will be attending summer school this year.
In the end, however, Brooktown High is only going to appeal to a very small niche audience. The movement controls are very slippery and awkward, you spend most of your time in mundane conversation trees and playing the same mini-games relentlessly, and the reward at the end of the year isn't particularly satisfying. Sure, the game can be fun for a few minutes here or there, but there are much better offerings available on the PSP with which you can spend your time. This game is best suited for the casual gamer looking for a unique way to pass the time here and there, for short play sessions. Real gamers need not apply.
In a painfully unrealized dose of irony, the lack of ambition or clear goal in Brooktown is not unlike the mindset of a typical uninspired and bored teenager. The gameplay literally runs in circles and has gone nowhere when it's finished. After an hour or so of playing you will more than likely unceremoniously discover the same thing I did; you haven't actually done too much, and what you've already done will be no different than what you will soon do. Ah yes, but that's just how dating sims are (remember, they've been driving the other side of the planet wild for some time now). Perhaps my foundations as a consumer of American culture do not allow me to fully appreciate the intended splendor of this rare specimen - or maybe it really is just a mediocre game.
We'd certainly scrawl 'Could do better' onto Brooktown High's final report. There's a lot of potential here, but too much goofing around and not enough action leaves the teenage dating simulator best left alone.
There are parts of the game that are successful, and if you like your dating to be cartoonish and over the top with dialog it can be an enjoyable experience. But then I would remember the repeating dialog and the disappointment that comes with completing a character's short dating arc. There's sort of an infinite number of endings, but they're simply a report card of what you've done or didn't do rather than anything actually creative and cool to learn about your avatar's post high school life. It's disappointing, it really is.
I really wanted to like you, Brooktown. I mean, like like. But the problem of shallow, unrealistic gameplay and an unreasonable time limit scheme just is too overbearing. You're rushing me, going way too fast for so little reward, Brooktown. I was really into you because I'd heard so much about your family - you know, the Tokimeki Memorial games you're supposedly based off of. But I'm getting the picture that maybe you're the black sheep, y'know? I... I think we should see other date sims.
My score would've been even lower if I hadn't seen the seeds of originality sprinkled all over this game. With loads of charm and ambition, Brooktown had Ivy League aspirations; too bad it flunked out.
Playing Brooktown High, you can't really ever lose, but with so little content to explore and so little reward, you can't really win either. You'll eventually be able to end up with the boy or girl of your in-game dreams, but this is time and money that would be far better spent doing something special for the real-life person you love. If you haven't found that person yet, take heart. Finding them may be the most rewarding game you'll ever play.
The whole concept of Brooktown High is appealing, but what the developer Backbone Entertainment has done is given us the most boring and lifeless look at high school life imaginable. With only three mini-games, repeated dialogue and a lack of options, it feels like we've only been given half a game, which is probably the case. If this is indicative of most dating sims, perhaps this is why we don't get many of them on our shores.
The 411 is this game is a hastily put together title looking to grab a buck. I don’t know why it was done this way. I don’t know why Konami felt it couldn’t put a bit more time in to make a fun and engrossing game. But for whatever reason they created this. What aggravates me most with this game is how easy it could have been to make a good game. The suggestions I made above aren’t ground breaking or revolutionary. This is game making 101. First rule; make the game have a point! As it stands, this is a hodgepodge of crappy minigames, simulated experiences, lackluster game play, and hokey overdone graphics. In short, this game barely passes as a free online title, let alone something gamers are actually expected to pay for. So what are we left with? A game that feels less like a game and more like, well a class in high school.
Wedgies all around for Konami for producing this loaf of candy-coated excrement. In the hands of the well-adjusted it's simply tedious and stupid. In the hands of the impressionable, it's far more dangerous than internet pipe bomb instructions, schoolyard drug dealers, or anything in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. This insidious, irony-free dating simulator is the most treacherous thing to come from Japan since Tojo.
Perhaps I'm being a little too hard on Brooktown High, but it really annoys me that such a fun concept has been watered down to the level that Brooktown High has been. With better pacing, some deeper activities to partake in and a more finely tuned interaction system Brooktown High could have been a lot of fun. But in its current state it's tough to recommend this game to anyone.