Review – Bright Memory (Xbox Series X)

Bright Memory is an interesting game in the way that such an ambitious title is being made by a single person. The UE4 visuals, animations, first person shooter and hack ‘n’ slash action, all done by one dude. This is both impressive, and understandable when you look at what Bright Memory does right, and wrong. I need to first address that this is not Bright Memory Infinite, the next generation game that Microsoft showed off in its presentations. This is, in fact, more of a demo, a small piece of what Infinite will provide. It was released last year in Early Access on Steam as well as iOS, Android, and now being ported to the Xbox Series consoles.

As I mentioned above, Bright Memory is essentially a tech demo. You have access to a prologue chapter, which is about a 30 minute playthrough. I almost feel bad having to score it, but this is being sold for $8 for Xbox Series X/S owners. The fact that you can also play this game on your iPhone or Android for $2 makes it even worse. This should have been, if anything, included with Game with Gold, or at the very least, GamePass.

Bright Memory

The enhancements add a nice level of progression for your moves even in this short experience.

Moving past my sheer shock of this thing actually costing money, let’s get into what it does right and wrong. I usually start off with a recap of the story, but there isn’t much to go off of here. You’re tossed into a fight immediately and introduced to the bad guy. This fight goes south quickly, and then you’re whisked back to a flashback sequence where you’re tracking the aforementioned baddie. He is looking for an ancient alter and you need to stop him. That’s about all I got out of this, besides the fact that a bunch of ancient monsters come to life and attack me, and not him. Unfortunately, with a 30 minute prologue, there isn’t much of a story to go by.

The gameplay is the focus of Bright Memory, and it does have some really fun action, hack ‘n’ slash, first person shooting combat. You’re equipped with a pistol, machine gun, and a shotgun for starters. However, you do have access to a bunch of cool power moves that are either available right away, or unlocked. You have a kinetic blast that will launch enemies up in the air, a sword for devastating attacks, as well as other upgrades that can slow down time or do massive area of effect damage. Using all of these together within a battle is a ton of fun. Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t perfect. There seems to be some issues with the enemies hit detection on you, as well as a general lack of enemy variety. Platforming sections and puzzles seem a bit half baked and offer no more than a break in the action.

Bright Memory Puzzles

The one puzzle featured in here is simple and only serves as a speed bump to the action.

As you destroy demon creatures they will drop experience that you will need to collect yourself. If it’s a flying enemy I suggest you wait until they get lower before killing them. Otherwise, the experience pick up will float in the air, making it impossible for you to collect. You can use them to level up your skills, general power or defense, or to unlock additional power moves. I’m not sure if the experience is scaled higher here, but I was able to get almost all upgrades with one playthrough. I would assume the full game will need to be scaled better.

Visually, Bright Memory is pretty good looking. Utilizing the benefits of the Unreal Engine 4, there are some legitimate areas that look great. However, this quickly falls apart in areas where up close textures are more noticeable. Or when low resolution objects are used on levers and such. That being said, there is a lot of visual flair here with the combat and such that in motion it looks good. Enemy design is a bit repetitive, but this is just a small portion.

Bright Memory Enemies

The visuals and enemy design are at times beautiful.

Sound design is a bit more rough than the rest of the game, with some noticeably bad voice acting. However, the soundtrack has some nice upbeat tracks during combat that I was feeling. Outside of that the general sound design is serviceable, with the various enemy sounds and weapon effects. Unfortunately, the shotgun has such a weak sound effect that it almost ruins using it altogether.

Bright Memory is impressive coming from a single person. I will absolutely give respect where it is due, because there is a solid game in here ,with some promising aspects. The fact this was accomplished form a single person is enough to be impressed by. As a tech demo, this is spectacular, however, this is being sold as a game for $8 on the MS store, and it is not worth the asking price. Playing this did get me more interested for the upcoming Bright Memory Infinite, but be aware that you’re paying for a 30 minute teaser.

 

Graphics: 7.5

There are times when Bright Memory looks really good during some outside locales. However, close up textures, various visual oddities, and obvious UE4 stock assets can bring it down.

Gameplay: 7.0

The FPS controls work well along with all the powers and sword attacks. However, hit detections seems off for enemy attacks. Not a lot of variety with weapons and platforming/puzzles are simple.

Sound: 6.0

Various combat sound effects are fine, unfortunately the shotgun lacks some punch. Voice acting is pretty weak as well, but the soundtrack has some nice upbeat tracks for bigger battles.

Fun Factor: 3.0

There are brief glimpses of fun, action packed segments, and I do mean brief. This is a 30 minute demo being sold for actual cash. It’s a single opening chapter that barely gets going before it ends.

Final Verdict: 5.5

Bright Memory is available now on PC, Xbox Series X|S, iOS, and Android.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

A copy of Bright Memory was provided by the publisher.