Bright Memory Infinite made its debut with a stunning trailer at an Xbox Series X event earlier this year, but Bright Memory 1.0, essentially a self-contained opening chapter, only ever hints at the promise from that reveal.
This first segment of the larger narrative feels like a PC castoff, and while there's invariably some fun to be had, it's not likely to be the title to opt for to put your Xbox Series S or Series X through its paces.
One Man Band
Right from the off, it's hard to believe that the game was developed by a single developer. Going under the title of FYQD, there's plenty of shiny metallic surfaces, a nifty looking holographic scope, and a cool grappling hook that all carry the hallmarks of a AAA development team – not just a single person.
Unfortunately, the more you start to play, the more the cracks begin to show. Environmental textures are muddy, the screen is prone to tearing, and the in-game settings menu is set up for PC.
Then there are deeper issues than optimisation. For one, the game's plot is nonsensical at best, and while we can only hope that the upcoming "Infinite" (not to be confused with the next Halo title) will add more context, at present, we follow Shelia (not a typo), an agent of sorts transported to another world to fight zombies and bad weather.
EMP Means Your END
Ok, that's a little reductive, but that's more or less the entire setup that Bright Memory presents players with. Of course, this is a shooter, and the act of pulling the trigger is pretty satisfying. That's tempered, however, but Shelia's slow turning circle, with the game's insistence on spawning enemies all around you only hammering home the sluggishness further. There is a dash which is restricted to sideways and backwards movement, but it's tough to close the gap to enemies and more than once led to me falling from a ledge, only to be at the mercy of an inconsistent checkpointing system.
Thankfully, if you can sidestep that issue (pun intended), there's some fun to be had with the game's combat. While many of the arenas become a little too circular and confined, bobbing and weaving between shambling enemies while using an EMP to send them flying into the air is fun, especially with Shelia's sword able to carve them up while they're up there like some kind of devastating Tekken 3 juggle attack. Alas, many of the game's tougher enemies are simply too spongy for the game's combat, especially with a lack of feedback when landing hits, bringing things back down to earth with a thud.
Though Bright Memory is pitched as an entree of sorts for its eventual successor, it’s disappointing that the credits roll within an hour before it begins to find a rhythm. Multiple difficulty settings are available, and players can level Shelia’s skills, but it all feels like it’s been done better before.
FPS fans may get a kick out of Bright Memory (once they’ve fiddled with the game’s controls), but it’s disappointingly lacking in consistency. What’s there can be enjoyable but only to an extent, as it’s surrounded by occasionally baffling design choices.
Reviewed on Xbox Series X
Review Code Provided By The Publisher