Originally announced for Xbox Series consoles back in May of 2020, Bright Memory: Infinite is finally here just over two years later. It’s surprisingly short, but pretty damned fun while it lasts. Nice graphics, solid performance (most of the time), and decent if imbalanced controls are matched with a nonsense story, constantly repeating music, and poor dialogue. It is very much the Michael Bay of melee & ranged power-based first-person shooters.
Shelia My Bell-ia
You are Agent Shelia of the Science Research Organization. Much like the original Bright Memory, you are tasked with stopping the evil SAI military organization from doing terrible things. Shelia is a ninja-soldier bad-ass that has a specialized set of weapons and a super-suit that allows for extremely high mobility and incredible feats of melee damage with her sword. The Xbox version of the game is known as the platinum edition and you can of course dress this super-soldier up in bikinis, cat outfits, and casual wear to your heart’s content. There are even “flesh pink” weapon skins for the included shotgun, assault rifle, handgun, and sniper!
The story finds Shelia (pronounced Shell-e-ah) being called into action to investigate an atmospheric disturbance. The original Bright Memory title was roughly 45 minutes long, and I ended up clearing normal difficulty in 1 hour and 28 minutes in Infinite. Throughout my time I fought 3 or 4 different SAI soldier types, a handful of different ancient soldiers, and a few mythical beasts and it was really good dumb fun. The story makes no sense, is completely forgettable, and simply serves as a reason to go from one combat arena to the next.
Unfortunately, one section of the game is based entirely around stealth, and it’s boring as heck. It’s not tough, at least on normal difficulty, but it is a classic “be spotted and you lose” mechanic in a fast-paced action game. It feels unnecessary and only there to keep the game from being even shorter. At least the meter for being spotted is extremely generous. The story isn’t anything special, or even decent, so let’s get into something that is, the combat.
Slice and Slice Again
First things first, A is your jump with both a double jump and wall run unlocked from the start. B is your sideways and backward dash, X interacts and picks up items, and Y is your sword attack. Right bumper is a parry/block depending on when it is used and is key to defeating most of the more formidable enemies. The left bumper is a pull enemy in when held down and EMP attack when tapped. Left trigger aims and right trigger shoots (most of the time, quite often when switching weapons the button didn’t work for a few seconds). Outside of the stealth section, this is an incredibly fast-paced game. B while running is a powerful slide and you will need to keep moving around during the more intense firefights as Shelia can’t take that much damage before going down.
There is a weapon and ability upgrade system tied to Reliquaries which can be found throughout your playthrough or created by earning 100 relics (either from breaking boxes or killing foes). The reliquaries are used to unlock extra left bumper and sword-based moves, as well as buff your special ammo which is tied to each of your four weapons.
The first weapon is an assault rifle that has 40 rounds per clip and an alternative fire of a tracking high damage shot. The next unlock is a shotgun with a 20-round drum mag and a massive fire damage special ammo that is quite overpowered. You’ll get a handgun third which acts more like an SMG and has a freaking rocket launcher for specialized ammo that hits like a truck. Finally comes a satisfying high-caliber sniper rifle that has a sticky grenade as its special. Playing on normal I never once came close to running out of regular ammo for any weapon, but I would go through my special ammo quickly because it is broken in how hard it hits once you’ve upgraded it a few times.
Your Y button sword attack doesn’t hit bosses the hardest, but it will stun-lock most enemies once their shields are down. To take down white bar shielded enemies you’ll need to time your right bumper parry to knock off a chunk of the shield or hit them with some high-powered special ammo. It’s not balanced well, but it favors the player in the power fantasy, so I appreciated it. Shelia is the monster, and the enemies are her prey, and for 90 minutes I had a really fun time chopping them to bits both with my melee and ranged attacks.
Graphics, Audio, and Crashes
The first thing that caught most people’s eye when Bright Memory and Infinite were announced was the graphical sheen on everything. This game was developed by the one-man FYQD-Studio based in China. As the credits roll you see the FYQD-Studio name for almost every aspect of the title, along with a lot of Unreal Engine marketplace assets, “Internet Content”, and Epic Content. The only area that isn’t just him is the solid but very short soundtrack and voice acting. This is a pretty game, though the art direction is rather bland. It makes sense being as most of this game is created with assets purchased off the internet, but it’s so damned pretty with the optional ray-tracing on that it just works. There is a 120fps mode available as well, though you need to manually turn off v-sync in the settings for it to work.
This is a more polished package than Bright Memory was, as that one had a bevy of normally PC-only options on hand which was interesting to fool around with but showcased how basic of a port it was. One area that isn’t polished is stability. In a 90-minute game, I had it crash back to the home UI or freeze entirely five times. Hopefully, this is something remedied with a day one or early patch, but as of now beware that the product I played is not very stable. Thankfully the game checkpoints your progress often and everything loads quickly so even after a crash I was back up and running in roughly thirty seconds.
As of the time of this review, I do not know the price for release on console, but the game is $20 on Steam after it was released there last year. That price feels a bit steep for such a short game, and I’m hoping at the very least that it is not more expensive on console being as this is the “Platinum Edition” and is filled with very horny DLC outfits and cool looking weapon skins.
Bright Memory: Infinite is a short but fun big dumb action game. It doesn’t have much if anything in the way of replayability, but it feels pretty good, looks great, and as long as the price isn’t too bad it’s worth checking out. Not only for the solid, overpowered feeling action, but it’s one hell of a weird-assed ride that I was glad to experience.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC|
|Release Date||July 21st, 2022 on Console|
|Rated||M for Mature|