Review – Bright Memory: Infinite
Bright Memory: Infinite is finally here with the follow up to the Early Access version simply called Bright Memory, which I did review when it launched for Xbox Series X|S. It was an interesting release because it really should have just been a free demo for Infinite’s eventual release, but I enjoyed what was there. Bright Memory and Infinite were both made by a single person studio, named FYQD-Studio, and I will admit that it is impressive what he has created. However, we were promised a longer and more involved campaign for Infinite so the expectations are heightened. Did it live up to the hype?
It’s the year 2036 and you play as Shelia, an agent for the Supernatural Science Research Organization (SRO). The SRO has been investigating strange phenomenon for which scientists can find no explanation. The Phenomenon have been occurring in the skies all around the world. It is soon discovered that these strange occurrences are connected to an archaic mystery of an unknown history of two worlds. You’re sent to investigate and black hole that has opened up and stop whatever is causing it.
My biggest issue with Bright Memory: Infinite is the story and its characters, unfortunately. Now, I acknowledge this is an action game made by one guy, so I’m not expecting a super deep narrative. However, what is here is so thin that for the most part I forgot what my objectives were. On top of that, the characters and villains introduced have almost no bearing on the events. A villain is introduced after the second main mission which leads you to believe he is going to be quite the threat. Unfortunately, he only shows back up during the very anticlimactic end cutscene in which he pretty much does nothing.
The story itself is one reason it’s hard to connect with this game, also its characters, and mostly because of the writing and voice acting. Shelia and the talking head giving the orders are very one note, and not used at all to give their own thoughts and insights about what is going on within the story. Shelia is just confused as to what is going on and the other agent just urges her to continue. There is no meaningful dialogue here and even with the introduction of the new villain there isn’t a clear indication of what his purpose is. Is he a rival agency? He doesn’t seem to be working with the main villain who is opening the black hole. Unfortunately, it’s all made worse by the terrible voice acting that is there.
Luckily, the main focus here is the gameplay and Bright Memory: Infinite does this very well. At its core it is a first-person shooter. Although, it mixes in a lot of extra combat moves that keeps the combat fresh. Starting with the shooting, you have access to a machine gun, shotgun, auto-pistol, and a sniper. Each weapon has an alternate ammo type as well, and the alternate ammo can be upgraded using the skill points. The upgrades for the ammo types also alter the effects, for example, the fire rounds for the shotgun can light enemies on fire dealing sustained damage. The machine guns explosive rounds will be able to auto track enemies in your vicinity.
The other attacks at your disposal is your sword and your gauntlet, which also can be upgraded with various additional attacks. Your base attacks with the sword are a simple slash attack, and an uppercut. However, you can upgrade your sword so the slash attacks also send out an energy wave being able to hit enemies from a distance. You can also unlock a charge attack that can level up to the ability to launch you sword into a revolving trap that continues to cut anyone around it.
Your gauntlet base attacks let you pull enemies toward you and send out a huge energy blast. The upgrades allow you to do a super charge punch that sends out a massive shock wave. This upgraded even further can change that shock wave into a massive fire bomb devastating anything in your path. You’ll also be able to unlock a slam move for both the sword and gauntlet and when upgraded deals massive area damage. I really enjoyed the depth of options and unlocks for each attack and guns available.
The general combat is a ton of fun and I want more of it. Mixing up the shooting, various ammo types, and the melee moves is really engaging and I enjoyed every encounter. There are various types of enemies that are weak against certain attacks so you’ll need to experiment and find the best ones. When the game is throwing all the enemies at you, it is a cluster of massive moves, exploding bullets, and limbs flying around. It’s very fun and the only reason to play this game again is because the gameplay is so great.
Unfortunately, Bright Memory: Infinite is a very short game. I finished the game in just under two hours. It was an action packed two hours with grapple hooking airplanes, fun bosses, and addicting combat, but it was just so dang short. The game really pushes the upgrades on you so fast because of the short run time so it lacks that big build up to a new move. Another issue I have is that in all the promo trailers it was shown that mobility was a big aspect i.e. running on walls and grapple hooking around to get better combat advantages. Unfortunately, these aspects have been stripped down to only a couple sections and only when you need to traverse landscapes. It really adds nothing to the gameplay.
I do have to give credit where its due with the performance. Bright Memory: Infinite seems very polished even with ray tracing enabled. I’m running an i7-9700k and RTX 2070 and I was getting 60fps with all settings on high, including ray tracing, and using DLSS on Balanced. The only time it would dip to the low 50’s is when a lot of water effects from splashing were on screen. Balancing the settings to include ray tracing and keep over 60fps was easy, and removing ray tracing had me well above 100fps.
This brings me to the visuals. Bright Memory: Infinite looks great and has a ton of flash and style. The game takes place during a storm and with the black hole sucking everything up there are some cool effects going on here. Environments are detailed nicely and the game looks really sharp, but up close things start to fall apart. Level design, enemy design, boss design, and the various effects all look very nice, and with settings on high it can look impressive. Unfortunately, moving in close to these models and environmental pieces shows the very muddy textures. It definitely doesn’t ruin the experience though, because overall the game does looks very good.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the audio design, mainly the voice acting. The audio design is decent with some basic gun sounds, explosions, and slams along with ambient sounds of the storms. The soundtrack is also serviceable, but I didn’t find it very memorable or punchy enough to really add to the combat scenarios. The voice acting, however, is extremely bad. Each time a character speaks it definitely pulls you out of the scene between the stilted deliveries and the bad writing.
Bright Memory: Infinite is really impressive for a single developer. I absolutely need to give him props for the effort and love poured into this game. You can see the passion and the understanding of engaging combat shine through here. Unfortunately, you can also see his lack of skill in writing along with time pressures to get this game out. For the most part I can overlook a bad story. Hell, I enjoy Call of Duty campaigns from time to time. However, with how thin it already is and with a very anticlimactic ending, I didn’t feel like much was accomplished. Luckily, the gameplay made up for a lot of what was missing story wise. All-in-all I was left with the feeling of wanting more. I want the game to be longer because I want to keep fighting.
Bright Memory: Infinite has a very slick looking art style with a ton of great effects. Enemy design, especially the bosses, are well done. However, up close textures do not impress.
The first-person shooting combat is frantic and exciting, with plenty of other combat maneuvers to mix things up besides shooting.
Sound design is the weakest here with voice acting being awful. The general gun sound and weather effects are well done, but nothing memorable.
Despite my playtime being under two hours it was an action packed two hours that I enjoyed. However, the story doesn’t really go anywhere and has an anticlimactic use of a villain.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Bright Memory: Infinite is available now on PC, launching later on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
Reviewed on PC with an i7-9700K, RTX 2070, and 16gb of RAM.
A copy of Bright Memory: Infinite was provided by the publisher.