Bright Memory: Infinite Review: East meets West in this short but sweet blockbuster shooter

November 11, 2021
Bright Memory: Infinite

You won’t find this mentioned in the official synopsis or website, but I’m inclined to believe that the “Infinite” referenced in this game’s title refers to the amount of arse-kicking badassery it lets you unleash. A first-person shooter that also lets you wield a katana? Set in a future version of an ancient Chinese province sitting under a black hole’s shadow? Bright Memory: Infinite certainly reads like an angsty 14-year old’s ideal game on the surface. However, for as outlandish as the presented events end up being, FYQD Studio’s showpiece title delivers a shotgun blast’s worth of tight action. Just don’t go in expecting it to last very long.

One of the best things about this shinier, slightly expanded version of the original Bright Memory is just how quickly it gets you into the swing of things. Players with an affinity for narrative or well-drawn characters largely won’t find it here. Instead, you’re thrust into a mission to prevent a supernatural disaster, taking up the reigns as SRO agent Shelia. Most people would likely run away from a black hole, but she runs towards it. Not so unfortunately for her, standing in her way are a litany of faceless soldiers. Time to get to work!

You start proceedings – as all good FPS games do – with a trusty assault rifle. This being the near future, though, it packs a real punch from the beginning of this 2-hour journey to its very end. The act of shooting in Bright Memory: Infinite simply feels good, with all four guns providing a real kick and delivering on the short bursts of spectacle we were promised when the game was first unveiled back at that Xbox Series X presentation almost two years ago. Combined with Shelia’s ability to slide, double jump, and dash in the air, gunning down faceless goons never fails to be a blast.

It helps that every weapon is dished out rather quickly, albeit at a good pace. This being a relatively short game, that you’re able to be finished in one sitting, Bright Memory: Infinite doesn’t waste any time in giving you all your tools of destruction. This includes each of the gun’s alt-fires, like tracker bullets and sticky bombs, that help you when you’re in a pinch. Equally useful though is obviously your katana and various exo arm abilities. The former lets you grab enemies from far away, ground pound the floor to hell, and even send EMP pulse at anyone dumb enough to get in your way, launching them flying across the screen. It’s when using these various combat aspects in tandem and chaining combos that you truly become a one-man swiss army knife.

Regardless of your particular chosen method of dispatching, Bright Memory: Infinite’s action plays out extremely cinematically. The only exception here is that it’s you actually doing the cool shit you’d typically see Hollywood heroes pull off on the big screen. It’s made all the more impressive when you consider that it’s largely the work of just one developer, FYQD’s Zeng Xiancheng, who has been hard at work making Infinite resemble somewhat of a full game. Just be warned: If you’re heading into this expecting even a 5–6-hour Call of Duty-esque rollercoaster you’ll be disappointed. This is very much a case of quality winning out over quantity.

It may only consist of 7 chapters (one of which is a cutscene) but in that short time Bright Memory: Infinite offers the ultimate blood-soaked extravaganza, and leaves you wanting more. Even if it does sometimes fall victim to certain FPS tropes – the obligatory stealth section and car sequence are both here, for instance – it more than makes up for this by letting you creatively choose how to destroy the latest gauntlet of foes. Doing so never gets boring due to the short runtime, sure, but also adding to this is the ability to upgrade your exo arm, weapons and katana abilities using collectable “reliquaries” sprinkled throughout levels.

Shelia is no slouch when it comes to turning soldiers, ancient warriors and god-like emperors to pulp, then, but also aiding her in battle is an impressive suite of traversal skills. As mentioned, using dodges and slides to get out of the way of danger works a treat. Less successful, however, are the few times you’re asked to clamber up onto a ledge or perform a pinpoint accurate wall jump. Doing so is simply not as effortless as it perhaps should be considering how slick other gameplay aspects are, and many times did I find myself awkwardly hopping against the same bit of wall in the hopes that Shelia would get a leg up. Luckily, these instances mostly take place away from combat encounters and are few and far between.

Bright Memory: Infinite fares better in its boss fights. Though brief, each one you bump into feels like a real event – not least because of the varied nature of their attack patterns and basis in the supernatural. You may just be an enhanced agent with a collection of guns and a sword, but this only adds to the fight’s “David and Goliath” qualities. The truth is that most aren’t too tricky to get your head around on the standard difficulty. That said, the last boss’ final form throws up a few tricks that really tests your ability to think on your feet. I couldn’t stop shifting and squirming around in my seat trying to avoid its devastating attacks, but I got there in the end.

I’d be remiss not to mention how much of a looker Bright Memory: Infinite is, too. A lot of this is down to the game currently being PC only (an Xbox Series X version is in the pipeline), yet even with just a GeForce GTX 1070 I could appreciate such small visual flairs like the lightning flashes in the sky, raindrops landing on the screen, and countless shiny surfaces. I only suffered a touch of slowdown whenever the on-screen action got extremely hectic, though I imagine a lot of this will be ironed out via updates and those with a beefier gaming rig.

Is Bright Memory: Infinite shorter than I would have liked? Yes, but this does nothing to take away from how much of a bombastic thrill ride it provides in the little time it does stick around. Higher difficulties are there for players who want to unlock different outfits or chase finish times, too, so it’s not like the game is necessarily a one and done experience anyway. Its combination of tight FPS gunplay and creative melee combat makes Bright Memory: Infinite worth the wait, surely being an exciting indication of what amazing things Zeng Xiancheng and FYQD Studio will go onto to achieve in the future.

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