A shooter that isn't a blight on the industry.
Over a year ago, I played a little shooter called Bright Memory 1.0. The game blew my tiny mind with its engaging mechanics and slick presentation. This was made more impressive by the fact it was coded primarily by a single bloke. But with the end credits rolling in less than 30 minutes, it felt like an appetiser for the main course. Thankfully, the complete Bright Memory experience has finally arrived. Let’s give it a spin and find out if the game lives up to the hype.
The storyline of Bright Memory Infinite is built upon a clean slate and has no connection to the original 1.0 release. But you still take control of Shelia, a member of the Science Research Organisation that is called into investigate a mysterious black hole looming over the skies of China. The story is paper thin at best with non-existent character development and zero tension to keep players invested in the narrative. This is compounded by the lacklustre voice acting and mediocre script. But thankfully, the story beats are kept to a minimum and fulfils their purpose of setting up the next encounter.
The real meat and potatoes of Bright Memory can be found in its gameplay. Like its predecessor, Infinite plays like a mixture of Bulletstorm and Shadow Warrior with a pinch of Devil May Cry added for good measure. The gun selection is once again on the meagre side, but your firearms now come equipped with a secondary fire to spice things up. For example, you get a pistol that behaves more like a submachine gun and can also fire incendiary grenades. The assault rifle is useful for mid-range foes with optional tracking bullets that gravitate to the nearest enemy. The shotgun is best reserved for close encounters and can also discharges shrapnel bombs that burn enemies to a crisp. While the newly added Sniper rifle is ideal for taking out long range targets with sticky grenades acting as its secondary attack.
In addition to these firearms, players can also engage in melee combat using Shelia’s sword. With some practice, the sword can even deflect projectiles and parry some melee attacks. The final gadget in your arsenal is Shelia’s exo arm that can manipulate foes using EMS. In addition to this, the exo arm can deliver a powerful blow that could give the Falcon Punch a run for its money, as the rocket punch not only dishes out a tonne of damage but also knocks down enemies like they were wheelie bins.
Bright Memory does a good job of encouraging players to master all these mechanics as finding creative ways of mixing your skillset is not only satisfying but is crucial for claiming victory. Especially when the game deploys a mixture of armed soldiers and supernatural beings. If you don’t want to meet your waterloo, I suggest you learn how to adjust your play style for each enemy. The game never slows down as the whole campaign is a roller coaster ride filled with constant action that is the highest of all octanes. But this is literally overshadowed by the giant bosses that are huge in stature and could easily squash you like the common fly. That’s why I'd recommend exploring the environments and finding relics to upgrade your skills.
To mix things up, Bright Memory includes a stealth mission and a driving sequence. But to be honest, these sections are the low points of the game with their undercooked mechanics. Thankfully, they only last for a few minutes and fulfil the order of adding some variety to the campaign. There’s also a random sequence where you gun down a bunch of feral pigs for no plot related reason. Perhaps the developer is still harbouring a grudge against the pig cops in Duke Nukem 3D.
While I don’t advocate putting visuals above gameplay, there’s no escaping the fact that Bright Memory is a beautiful game. I lost count of how many times that I pause simply to admire the game’s scenery. The developer has done an incredible job of producing highly detailed visuals complete with superb art direction that draws inspiration from Chinese folklore. This is complimented by the fact that entire game takes place during a heavy rainstorm. Resulting in this amazing atmosphere that includes rain-soaked environments with individual foliage being blown by the wind.
After my graphics rant, it should come as no surprise that Bright Memory is a demanding game and requires a powerful rig to enjoy it with all the special effects. RTX owners will no doubt have the best experience as Bright Memory supports both raytracing and DLSS. I personally played the game on my RTX 3070 with high settings at 4K and had no trouble running the game at 60fps. Although I had to rely on DLSS to maintain these high metrics. Thankfully the game makes use of DLSS 2.2, resulting in fewer ghosting artifacts when compared to previous iterations of the technology. Unsurprisingly, performance takes a hit when you enable ray tracing with the pay-off being the additional visual flair that comes with the effect. I will be curious to see how this game runs on the Xbox Series X, especially with the developers trying to implement ray tracing using DXR.
Completing the entire campaign will only take around 2 hours. This might seem short when compared to your typical Call of Duty campaign that lasts for 5 or 6 hours. But keep in mind that Bright Memory is a $20USD game that was coded primarily by a single person and as stated earlier, the game moves at a brisk pace. The replay value comes in the form of the additional difficulty modes to test the might of those feeling brave enough. If you beat the game on Revenge mode, you’ll gain access to Hell mode. No prizes for guessing that Hell mode is insanely difficult and doesn’t hold back any punches. Completing the game on each difficulty unlocks new digs for Shelia, while reaching specific kill counts will get you a couple of new skins for your arsenal. However, half of these costumes and weapon skins are locked behind a paywall. I find this to be an anti-consumer move that sours the relationship with fans who picked up the original 1.0 release.
While the mediocre storytelling and short length might put a damper on the experience. There’s no denying that Bright Memory Infinite serves up a tightly paced campaign that successfully combines satisfying fire fights with engaging melee combat. It’s also one of the most visually striking games to ever grace the PC with its incredible art direction and a huge array of special effects. I really enjoyed my time playing this one and I can’t wait to see what the developer does with their next project.
So, why should you play it? - Fast paced action that successfully blends gunplay and melee combat. - A huge array of mechanics and weapons that rewards mastery of its skillset. - Looking for a game with impressive visuals that will melt your PC in a pinch. But why shouldn’t you play it? - If you want a good story with Oscar-like performances. - Don’t like short games that only last a few hours. - Still rocking a potato computer with a first generation Pentium CPU and 3DFX Voodoo card. A press copy of Bright Memory Infinite on PC was provided by the publisher.
WindyCornerTV is a YouTube gaming video creator who has been wasting his life playing videogames since the 90s. He has a fascination with retro tech, CRTs, and obscure '90s anime and B-grade movies. You can watch his videos here: WindyCornerTV