Bright Memory Infinite has varied and satisfying combat, but all I can think of is the unfulfilled potential
- Developer: FYQD-Studio
- Publisher: FYQD-Studio, PLAYISM
- Release date: 11th November 2021
- Genre: FPS
- Platforms: Windows PC (Xbox Series X/S in development)
- Reviewed on: PC (R9-5900, RTX 3080, 32GB RAM)
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
Bright Memory Infinite Review
A common complaint levied against Bright Memory is that it was far too short, amounting to little more than a tech demo. Sadly, Bright Memory Infinite falls into the same trap, with my first playthrough taking just two hours to complete. Without going into spoiler territory, the game ends very abruptly. There’s no closure, and indeed, it feels like you are just getting to the end of the opening act, but then it’s all over and the credits roll.
The makings of a decent story are there; There’s a cool premise where enemies spontaneously warp from futuristic soldiers into a sword and shield-wielding fantasy style, there’s a Macguffin to investigate, and a terrorist army as your antagonists, but you simply don’t spend enough time in the game world to become invested in any of it.
The overarching feeling I get from Bright Memory Infinite is that it feels dated. Yes, the visuals are hugely impressive, especially if you have a GPU that can handle the gorgeous ray-traced lighting, and the combat is solid and engaging, but the structure feels like it was brought forward from the early 2000s.
Bright Memory Infinite has an incredibly linear progression, with invisible walls or rudimentary obstacles blocking exploration. At its best, exploring revolves around seeing a corner you can walk around that’s not directly on your guided route, and chances are you’ll find a relic or some ammo to collect. You barely even have to engage your brain to work out where to go next, either. If there’s not a waypoint pointing you in the right (and usually obvious) direction, there’s a glaringly obvious arrow placed on the wall showing you which way to go.
There’s a place for corridor shooters, but they need to at least give the illusion of freedom. In Bright memory Infinite you are shepherded from pathway to pathway, occasionally popping out into a slightly more open area for a larger battle, but it’s all utterly predictable. Enemies spawn in front of you, often from a literal puff of smoke, and it’s a basic gameplay loop where you kill everyone until the battle music ends, then walk onwards to the next scripted encounter.
Bright Memory Infinite throws in as many FPS tropes as it possibly can, but fails to implement or expand on them in any meaningful way. It’s almost like they had a checklist of features and mechanics they wanted to cram in: There’s a vehicle driving mission, you can wall-run (but only on specific walls), there’s a brief stealth section, there’s a little bit of platforming and there’s a set-piece that takes place on the wings of a plane. They are exciting and could even be described as spectacular, but they only last a few minutes each, and generally only appear once or twice each throughout the whole game.
For what it’s worth, the combat is very well implemented. Throwing in sword attacks, defensive blocks, counters and parries along with using your limited but fun to use array of weapons opens up some exciting gameplay. Using your Exo Arm you can pull enemies towards you, then blast them with an EMP that damages and suspends them in the air. While they are suspended you can unload your guns into them before jumping into the air and finishing them off with slashes from your sword. It’s a great combination of first-person shooter mechanics and action-adventure combat that works extremely well.
As you progress through the game, you’ll gradually unlock your arsenal and you can upgrade your abilities. Each weapon has an alternative ammo mode, too. The sniper can be loaded with timed explosives, the automatic pistol fires high-explosive rounds, the shotgun fires napalm rounds, and the assault rifle has Fifth Element-Esque guided rounds. This gives encounters loads of variety and the combat is genuinely brilliant. Once you finish the game, you can go back and replay levels on a higher difficulty with all of your unlocked skills, which at least gives Bright memory Infinite some replay value.
Another area where Bright Memory Infinite shines (quite literally) is the visuals. I played it on a powerful system, which obviously helped, but it’s a well-optimised game. With everything maxed out and full RT effects enabled, I was clearing 120fps at 1080p, and over 70fps at 2160p with DLSS set to quality. Indirect lighting bounces off surfaces casting realistic reflections on your weapon and accurate shadows give the game a great sense of depth and solidity. The water in particular looks very good, but larger expanses have a visibly repeated isometric pattern that breaks the immersion somewhat.
The character models could use more work, as the faces look a little flat and don’t convey expressions particularly well. Movements are pretty clunky, too, especially in those moments where it switches to third-person. There’s a scene early on where Shelia is swimming towards the shore and it looks very unnatural.
On the subject of characters, the localised vocals are pretty dire. It sounds like the dubbing you get on a foreign language Netflix show, but this can be somewhat excused by the low budget and small team the developer had to work with. The rest of the audio is passable, though. The score is decent, with Asian inspired thematics, but it’s lacking in variety. Most of the weapons sound alright, too, apart from the shotgun which doesn’t have an audible impact to match its effective punch.
I did encounter a few glitches during gameplay, though most were fixed in a patch we were sent. Only one remains, which is where enemies sometimes shoot through the scenery. It’s not the end of the world, but it does look weird when gunfire is passing through six feet of solid rock beside you. Another issue, though not technically a glitch, is that the enemy AI occasionally gets caught up in the scenery and does a wiggly-jiggle left and right while you casually pop them with a headshot. None of these issues are game-breaking, but it’s yet another area where the limitations of the small dev team come into play.
It probably comes across as though I didn’t like Bright Memory Infinite all that much, but that’s not the case. It has all the makings of a great game, but it’s hamstrung by its brevity. If the campaign was stretched out to at least six to eight hours, I’d likely be feeling more positive about it. I could try to highlight specific areas it needs to improve, but it’s best broken down as it needs more. More environments, more weapons, more enemy types, more use of the mechanics, more upgrades, more story. Everything just leaves me wanting more, and not in the way a great TV series’ cliffhanger does; It’s an unfulfilled, disappointed kind of wanting more.
It’s possible there may be some kind of expansion coming down the line, but it may be too little too late. If this game turns out to be just the first act, and they bring out a couple of similarly sized following acts, then there’s still hope for Bright Memory Infinite. I’d love to see some variation of a horde or survival mode added, as this would play into BMI’s biggest strength, which is its super-smooth and electrifying combat. As it stands, though, even at such a low price point, it will likely leave many disappointed.
Bright Memory Infinite feels like a missed opportunity. If it was expanded to a decent length and the story was fleshed out it could be great, but it never really gets going. The combat is varied and satisfying, and it’s really well optimised, pumping out some impressive ray-traced visuals, but all I can think of is the unfulfilled potential.
That said, if you want a quick, fun game to blast through, Bright Memory Infinite could scratch that itch. Despite its shortcomings, it’s very playable, the combat is genuinely good and at least it brings something new to the table.