I Want More Games Like Bright Memory: Infinite
I do everything I can to enjoy every video game that comes across my desk. Even if I ultimately hated a game, I try to see what makes it unique and what other games could expand upon. For example, I did not care for Biomutant. Despite this, I still found elements of the game that others could learn from. Likewise, when Marcos Codas got his hands on Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards, he found himself in a similar position to me. Recently I got a chance to play through Bright Memory: Infinite. Once again, I find myself in this weird spot of loving something pretty specific about the game, even if I’m not a fan of the product overall.
To get this out of the way real quick, Bright Memory came out in 2019, originally with “Episode 1” attached to it. However, after the game saw success, the decision was instead to remake and update the game as Bright Memory: Infinite. If you bought the original game you got this one for free, so there’s a good chance you may actually own it right now. Honestly, it’s really cool seeing someone’s one-man project get a team and become a full game. Just the game it became has, you know… problems.
I’ll get the problems out of the way now. The biggest? Bright Memory: Infinite‘s story can best be described as “nonsense.” Things just sort of happen. There’s a black hole above China that causes you to travel through time while some guy who refuses to leave his helicopter keeps crashing it into things and being shot but is fine every time. There’s a horrifyingly awful forced stealth segment, super clunky platforming, a dull vehicle segment, the voice acting is simply bad, and the game has a problem with crashing. Plus you can finish the entire game in less than two hours (my final playtime was an hour and fifty minutes.)
None of that matters when you get to kill things.
The simple fact is that Bright Memory: Infinite‘s combat is absolutely amazing. You’re equipped with four different guns, a sword, and a tool that allows you to use a grappling hook or hit enemies with an EMP blast. It’s a really good chunk of equipment to use, and even better, each gun has alt-fire modes. For example, the assault rifle will fire tracking bullets while the sniper rifle can fire a sticky grenade. The end result? It’s pretty great.
During one fight I launched an enemy into the air, jumped up, slashed them to bits with my sword, used the grappling hook to pull myself over to another enemy, blasted them at point-blank with the shotgun, then used the assault rifle’s homing rounds to start firing on another enemy while I closed the distance with a dash. It’s such a rush every time. Before long I found myself wishing more FPSes would take this approach. It’s more comparable to Devil May Cry than anything else.
I guess the good thing is that more games are trying this. While I’ve not had the pleasure of playing either yet, I’ve heard similar comparisons with both Doom Eternal and Ultrakill. It’s something I’d love to see more first person shooters try. There’s nothing wrong with slower-paced games, or military/near-future shooters that play like Call of Duty or Halo, but I absolutely love more experimental shooters too. Give me more fast-paced character action-styled games, I want to see how this style can flourish, especially when the rest of the game can match the quality that the combat puts out.
Oh, also, the game is beautiful. It’s not really relevant to any other part of this, but I do want to say that Bright Memory: Infinite is a lovely game. Specific graphic styles and technical work can go into helping sell the hits. It’s not just that I’m slashing people with a sword, it’s that my final hit literally lobs their head off. It feels good. Firing a few rounds of the tracer bullets into the air and watching them zoom towards a target and hit them, complete with orange lines tracing their paths and spark-filled explosions when they hit their target. It’s good stuff.
I just deeply wish the rest of Bright Memory: Infinite was good stuff. I don’t hate my time with the game, and to quote my co-write Jans, it’s here for a good time not a long time. I deeply wish I enjoyed it more, and I wish it was longer for sure, but it’s a game that still managed to bring a smile to my face every combat encounter. Just, you know, please don’t interrupt your super awesome action scenes with terrible forced stealth. No one likes that.