Bright Memory was a promising game, and its first episode was released in Early Access some years back. Additional episodes were promised, but they never came to fruition. As such, the game was relegated to merely being an impressive 40-minute tech demo. That was true, until Bright Memory: Infinite, which is free to anyone who purchased the original. The sequel took three times as long to make as the first episode. But you’re probably wondering, is it three times as long? Yes, Bright Memory Infinite is roughly three times longer, clocking in about two hours. It looks amazing and has fun mechanics, but it ultimately doesn’t resemble a full-fledged game.
Bright Memory: Infinite concerns a woman named Shelia who works for an entity called the Science Research Organization. A black hole looms ominously in the skies overhead, so they set out to investigate. Shelia is also going after a man named General Lin, who pretty much replaces Carter from the original release. This game appears to be a retelling of that game’s backstory, maybe. I’m not too sure about the details, as the plot left practically no impression on me. The supernatural event also brings dead warriors back to life and Shelia ends up fighting them. There’s stuff happening.
The game is broken up into a handful of chapters with a surprising amount of variety given its short length. You’ll fight high-tech soldiers and undead warriors. There’s an out-of-place forced stealth section, and even a minute or so where you race a car and dodge obstacles. Even at just a couple hours of playtime, though, it feels like what’s here is stretched kind of thin. You’ll mostly be looking at the same environments while fighting the same handful of enemies. If anything, the dev should have leaned harder into stealth, and the driving, to make things a bit meatier, even if those two sections aren’t all that impressive.
Slice and dice
In case you haven’t seen, Bright Memory: Infinite doesn’t look like an indie game mostly made by a single person. Some teams made up of dozens of people can’t make a game look this good. The textures, lighting, and effects are all of immense quality, looking more akin to a AAA game than anything else. Infinite also sports ray tracing and DLSS. The raytracing is particularly impressive. In cutscenes, seeing lights and distant objects reflected off of Shelia’s suit, slick with rainwater, is no mean feat.
The gameplay is no slouch, either. Shooting certainly looks good, but it feels punchy as well. Enemies react much better to damage this time around. There are four guns: a rifle, a shotgun, a pistol (that I never used because you get it after the previous two for some godforsaken reason), and a sniper rifle. Each also has alternate ammo types you can collect, such as the explosive rounds for the shotgun. Shelia also has a sword and a host of abilities at her disposal. You’re totally overpowered in this game in a truly unbalanced way.
Abilities in Bright Memory: Infinite are all tied to an energy bar that refills with expediency. In the last go-round, using the sword meant you had a window to slash away until energy ran out, which was weird. Here, individual slashes use a bit of energy, which works better. You can also use an EMP blast (pulling enemies toward you and leave them hovering in midair), a sword launcher, specials you strangely charge while running (which is awkward as hell), and specials you use in midair. There’s honestly a lot to chain together, which can make for some satisfyingly chaotic battles.
Nothing can stop me now
The thing is, the special ability meter recharges so fast that you can basically spam all these moves with hardly any limit. You can fight enemies by jumping into the air and using the electric arm slam over and over, which does a large amount of damage. There are bosses to fight too, and they don’t stand a chance against these attacks. I don’t have an issue with being overpowered, but these moves just make enemies seem completely non-threatening. You also have health that rapidly replenishes. Shelia may look like a lady in a cyber suit, but she’s almost like a Terminator.
The enemies in Bright Memory: Infinite are pretty rad to fight. Most soldiers go down quickly enough, but there’s a stronger variety that can use shields (which break immediately if you use a charged special). Even stronger normal soldiers (and smaller bosses) can be pulled directly to you and forced to levitate in the air while you slash and blast them. The supernatural enemies are all stronger but are similarly not varied at all. Even at a couple of hours, I felt like I was doing the same thing time and again, which is a pretty massive issue.
The game’s stealth section is alright, but makes very little sense. An electromagnetic anomaly or something makes all of Shelia’s gear not work. Yes, not even the sword. Enemy guns still work, though. It’s highly jarring. She finds a cleaver and there’s a detection gauge onscreen. If it fills up all the way from you being seen, then you get sent back to the last checkpoint. It’s fine, but out of place and pointless. Similarly, the driving section is fast and visually exciting, but it has no business being in the game and is so brief that I don’t even get why anyone bothered. If these sections had been better integrated or had some sort of importance beyond, “look, we added a different thing for a little bit!” it would be a different story.
There’s fun to be had with Bright Memory: Infinite. It’s got fantastic visuals and is built on wonderful technology, the combat is fast and satisfying, and there are some solid ideas on display. But, there are many full games you can buy for $20 USD. Even though it’s longer than the original, it’s still feels little more than like a glorified tech demo. You can unlock skins for Shelia (who you can only see during cutscenes) or for your weapons, plus there are extra difficulties and you can keep all your upgrades, but there’s just not much here. Hopefully, there’ll be a full-fledged Bright Memory game eventually. But this? It’s just a teaser.