Bright Memory: Infinite Review - Fast, Fun, But Seriously Flawed

Bright Memory: Infinite won't be remembered for long with its brief run time and poor storytelling.

July 20, 2022

Bright Memory: Infinite is an impressive graphical spectacle that manages to cobble together a few decent gameplay elements, but it falls far short of being a ‘must play’ game. It feels like the prelude to something bigger, and therein lies the biggest problem; Bright Memory: Infinite can be done and dusted within three short hours.

I was done in a little under three hours, and despite a second run to capture gameplay for the video review, I’m still not entirely sure what the story was about. It begins with Shelia, an operative for the Supernatural Science Research Organisation, being dispatched to investigate the unusual events that have been reported across the world. Strange weather and a black hole sitting on the horizon is as good a recipe as any for a sci-fi story, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Every step through the story is a lateral move with no big revelation, at least not until the very end, by which point I was happy to just be done with the game.

Our Score: 6/10 – Good
The Good: Fantastic production values – a real graphical treat.
The Bad: Can be finished in two hours. And that bloody forced stealth mission.
Release Date: July 21st, 2022 (PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch)
Developed by: FYQD-Studio
Available On: PC, Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed On: PS5

To be fair, in a game with a runtime of two to three hours, cramming in enough exposition to make the story make a lick of sense or give its forgettable characters any resolution was always going to be a challenge. Instead, the focus is firmly on the arcadey shooter/action gameplay that feels like an amalgamation of Crysis, Devil May Cry, and Killzone Shadowfall. There are worse games to take inspiration from.

Shelia is outfitted with just a single gun to begin with but is soon expanding her arsenal as the story pushes forward at a blistering pace, well, at least until it stops dead in its tracks for the ultimate gaming sin: a bloody forced stealth mission. I’ll never understand why non-stealth games force these abominations upon us, and I’ll never tire of moaning about them. In fairness, I managed to get through Bright Memory: Infinite’s stealth section really quickly and without much bother. There wasn’t any real challenge to it and compared to the rest of the game where hectic firefights and chaotic combos are the order of the day, it felt really out of place, and in hindsight, it probably only served as padding for the short runtime.

Another moment that seemed out of place was shortly before the end when the game crosses off “car chase sequence” on its list of action movie cliché must-haves. This five-minute section had me driving a sports car with a rocket launcher attached to the front. On paper: perfect. In reality, a very linear and almost on-the-rails driving section where my DualSense vibrated non-stop for the duration. It wasn’t the exciting set piece it could have been, but yet another wasted opportunity.

A few misguided moments here and there don’t break a game, though, and Bright Memory: Infinite does do a great job at empowering the player with a small loadout of fun weapons, each with secondary fire modes, and a few extra tools to lay the smack down and inject some well-meaning variety, including a sword that can be used to launch enemies into the air for a beat down to the ground. The sword has a secondary use, too, where you can block incoming bullets. This was really nifty, though I rarely used it, instead relying on the duck-and-cover skillset I’ve been perfecting since Call of Duty 2. It did, however, come in handy when enemies got in close, as the sword can be used to block incoming melee attacks or just finish off those foolish enough to get within reach of Shelia’s blade.

As it’s 2022, of course you can expect an upgrade tree. For Shelia’s abilities and weapons, there are multiple upgrades that can be earned by collecting relics, though I seriously questioned the point of them, given the game is so short and there’s not much time to really get invested. Still, I guess it adds some replayability if you want to collect the trophies or do a fully powered-up run through the game.

I liked Bright Memory: Infinite to begin with, but come the end, I was a little disappointed. Sure, it has the fancy graphics and decent gameplay, and even some big set-piece moments that made me forget I was playing a game developed by just one chap. But it lacks substance, depth, and purpose, and above all else, clarity. I’ve gone through the story twice and I still don’t know why the regular bad guys occasionally get warped out for ancient Chinese warriors, or why the boss battles are supernatural beings from the past – one of which has some very campy and out-of-place dialogue.

While the length may be an issue, there is a flip side to it. Just as I was starting to tire of the guns and sword combo fest, it was over. It wasn’t long enough for me to get tired of its main selling points: the top-tier graphics and the chaotic combat. The visuals are stunning, granted, but the game takes place more or less across very similar environments, except for the gunfight on the wing of an airplane hurtling toward a black hole – Neil DeGrasse Tyson would pull that scene apart in a second. If the game ran for a further six hours but locked in with the linear locations I’d tire of it before the end. The combat, while being fun and encouraging experimentation, doesn’t have the depth to carry the game for much longer – I’m sure that by hour four I’d completely drop the melee side and just stick to running and gunning, and then it’s no different to most other shooters out there. So take my gripes with a grain of the good stuff and remember the old adage, less is more. But I still would have liked a little more. There’s always room for pudding. Just saying…

Chris Harding

British fella who lives off of tea and coffee. Fanatical about anything gaming, even partial to a bit Snakes 'n' Ladders, a game which he takes much more seriously than anybody else does.

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