Bright Memory is uniquely positioned as both a first-person shooter and an action game. Unfortunately, severe technical issues mar its unique combat.
Bright Memory is an impressive game; not because it’s the best shooter I’ve played, or because it’s the best looking game, but because one developer at FYQD Studio created it all. It came out early last year in early access and eventually left that status in March of this year. However, this is just the first chapter. Bright Memory Infinite is launching sometime next year. Anyone who picks this up on PC gets Infinite free, which is a nice perk for those who buy-in early.
Bright Memory is a weird launch title for Xbox Series X and S; it’s the cheapest of any current release at just $7.99. It sure doesn’t look or feel very next-gen though. It suffers from significant visual performance issues, as well as weird controller responsiveness problems. Also, it’s a very short title – and it’s meant to be. Given the abbreviated length, though, it would have been nice to see some more polish.
Brief and nonsensical
Things (briefly) follow Shelia through a nonsensical opening, and she remains our protagonist throughout. I’m guessing that she’ll be our protagonist throughout all of Infinite as well. I’ve played through it a few times now, and I still can’t make heads or tails of what is going on or why.
I know that she’s going up against a shady research organization. Other than that I don’t really have a clue of what’s happening. The runtime here is only about an hour. You’ll likely be able to collect all of the achievements in one or two more runs. I had my last playthrough down to about thirty minutes, so take that information for what it’s worth.
The combat stands out
Bright Memory really shines when you’re in combat. It’s a weird mix of fast-paced first-person shooter action and melee sword-based combat. It is at its best when things get really chaotic and players blend the two. There are some psionic powers that come into play when trying to get that elusive SSS combo a la Devil May Cry, but you’ll spend most of your time blasting or slashing through enemies.
There are some decent enemy variations here too. Upon getting into the jungle, you’ll fight some deity-looking giant tigers and a giant skeleton demon that can easily kill you in a hit or two. There are soldiers here too, but fighting them isn’t nearly as interesting. Things heated up a bit during the second and final boss when I had to stay on the move and use my platforming and psionic abilities to take down my enemies while avoiding flame jets around the arena.
Visually, Bright Memory looks good, not great. It definitely looks closer to something that could have released on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, especially with the copious amounts of screen tearing and frame rate drops I encountered. I’m pretty sure this was just a straight port of the PC version, so I’m optimistic that Bright Memory Infinite will be better optimized for consoles when it launches.
The environments show flashes of brilliance with some varied areas and occasionally really great-looking segments. But with how quickly everything is moving all the time, it’s hard to really take the time to stop and smell the roses.
I do want to point out the other technical issue that I had which was with the melee combat. For whatever reason, Shelia didn’t like to register my RB inputs. That is frustrating because that’s how the sword combat is mapped. I tried a few different controllers and had the same issues with all of them. So I think there’s a bug there.
To be frank, Bright Memory for Xbox Series X|S is an extremely unoptimized and poorly polished launch title. However, the future looks bright for the game. The foundation for something truly special is there. From the trailers we’ve seen, Infinite looks stunning.
I’m hoping the visuals get cleaned up before the launch of Infinite. As it stands, it’s hard to recommend Bright Memory for more than a fiver with the technical issues and the short length. Either way, if you get the chance to play it, check it out. The unique blend of FPS and action slasher is pretty great, even if the rest of the experience isn’t up to par quite yet.