Synopsis: Bright Memory is a lightning-fast fusion of the FPS and action genres, created by one-man development studio FYQD using Unreal Engine. Combine a wide variety of skills and abilities to unleash dazzling combo attacks.
Publisher: Playism Reviewed on: Xbox Series X Also available for: Xbox Series S, PC
Cast: Hannah Grace, Kelvin Burnes, Jack Merluzzi
Remember back when Xbox did their Xbox Third-Party Event in May? It was our first look at some next-gen gaming, and the game that opened that showcase was Bright Memory: Infinite. It’s still in development and scheduled to release sometime next year. What you do have to play on your brand new Xbox Series X|S at launch is Bright Memory. The game was initially released on PC earlier in the year, and it’s a nice taste teste for what Infinite will be. Here you have a blistering 40-60 minutes of some very video-game-ass-video-gaming that shows solo developer Zeng “FYQD” Xiancheng flexing their skills and showcasing what influences them from games to anime.
I’m not touching the story here: I have no idea what is going on even though I’ve played through the game twice. You play as some secret agent named Shelia who gets transported to a fantasy world where there are dragons, wolves, zombies and other creatures. Some bad guys are transported with you who shoot you with guns, but for the most part, you’re fighting fantasy creatures.
To dispose of the foul-beasts, you have a pistol, assault rifle and shotgun in your disposable, as well as a katana for melee attacks. Although it becomes quite evident, the shotgun is the weapon of choice. As you progress through the game, you’ll get a couple of other powers including katana attacks and the ability to slow time. There is an upgrade tree, but you won’t complete it all unless you play through twice like I did and you don’t need too.
Although I’d forgive you for thinking this is another typical first-person-shooter, it’s best treated in a similar fashion to DOOM where you need to always be moving and attacking. Oddly you do get scored on your combat upwards of a SSS ranking. Like many other things in the game, this doesn’t appear to have any reason to be in the game other than FYQD obviously being inspired by franchises like Devil May Cry.
In Bright Memory, there’s plenty that doesn’t make much sense. There’s a puzzle where you’re supposedly meant to line-up these icons on the ground with some on the wall — but I’ve completed the puzzle twice in entirely different ways. Half-way through the game, you’ll find a bonfire that looks like it’s ripped directly out of Dark Souls and activating it the massive words“BONFIRE LIT” appear on the screen. What does this bonfire do? Nothing. A boss fight follows that looks like your typical Dark Souls knight, so I guess it’s for the memes.
The Xbox Series X|S version of Bright Memory is a quick port of the PC version to the degree you have to use a cursor in the menus of the game. You’re even given the full list of PC settings to fiddle with if you choose. That said, I did notice a fair amount of screen-tearing while playing and you can enable v-sync in the setting menu, so I’d suggest that.
When you ‘finish’ the Bright Memory, the game displays a short credits sequence before you’re allowed to move into another room. Here Shelia finds a bunch of bodies hung from the ceiling, and another character appears to land where you started the game. You’re left wondering not only what the hell you played, but how all of this could form a fully functioning and entertaining game in Bright Memory: Infinite? Although Bright Memory is utter nonsense, in a good way, it is still just a gloried tech-demo. As long you know that before purchasing it and don’t get it confused with the game we saw in May, I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s a launch Xbox Series X|S title you need to play.