Bright Memory is one of the handful of games that have been optimised for Xbox Series X/S. If you’ve never tried it before, I can highly recommend picking it up for the Xbox Series X. This shooter is a fairly short experience, acting as more of a demo for the game that’s set to come. However, that doesn’t make it any less impressive. It’s a bonkers thrill ride from start to finish, one that will keep you asking questions long after you’re done with it. As I am.
There’s definitely a story in Bright Memory. I’m just not sure what it is. I don’t think anyone can give a definitive answer as to what is going on. In the couple of hours that it takes to get through the game, you’ll go from a hyper-advanced scientific facility to a floating island at the top of the world. You’ll battle soldiers, skeletons, and chimera with a collection of fancy-looking guns, accompanied by a fantastical sword that erupts with energy when plunged into the ground.
The developer created Bright Memory as the spark of an idea. They then realised that they wanted to take that idea much further, in what has been deemed Bright Memory: Infinite. That game isn’t out yet, and so the demo we have today acts as a precursor. It’s a distilled version of everything that the final game will include, which is why the story is a total mess.
Ultimately, there’s no coherent thread to hold onto. However, the ideas presented are pretty great. I look forward to not understanding what the heck is going on in the final release. If you’re hoping for a solid shooter with all sorts of fabulous stories carefully interwoven into gameplay though, move on.
Shoot and Stab
Players take on the role of a futuristic soldier in this game. Having been dumped on a mystical island with their arsenal of futuristic tech, they’re left to fight the Skyrim-esque monsters that they come up against at every corner. At first, this is incredibly jarring. I thought I’d be shooting my way through troops armed with lasers before long. Instead, it’s all skeletons and beasts straight out of English folklore.
This isn’t a bad thing though. The switch from traditional expectations actually makes the game slightly more challenging. Skeletons rush you, meaning you have to rely heavily on dodging out of their way. Gunfire also won’t do it for some enemies, such as the skeletons smart enough to die with a shield. For these guys, you need to whip out your sword.
You can perform many combos with your sword, most of which make light work of the enemies you face. However, there are also other smaller skills that you can combine with sword slashes and gunfire to make for a truly hectic experience. It’s difficult to remember what every button does, and indeed what every ability does. By the game’s end, I had some idea of what I was doing, but it’s hard to say if I’d be able to carry that through more than a few hours.
One thing that I loved about the game was the pace of combat. It’s built for you to rush around the battlefield and take advantage of your enemy’s lack of speed. This doesn’t do the game any favours when it comes to puzzles though, and there are a few. Here, speed is an issue that sees you miss the pad you want to stand on or move too fast for the grapple prompt to show up.
Finally, there’s a grading system to combat that hints that the final release will resemble Devil May Cry in some way. The bosses are ridiculously huge, and it’s all about pumping them full of bullets and sword hits while looking great. There could be more of a link there than the short demo time actually reveals.
Since this is a demo of sorts, I feel like these issues are forgivable. Providing they’re fixed in the final release.
Glitches and Easter Eggs
If there’s one thing Bright Memory is packed with, it’s easter eggs. From the bonfire, you light for XP to the phrases uttered by the odd enemy here and there. I really enjoyed these, though they’d be completely missed if you haven’t played the games they relate to. It’s always nice to see easter eggs in a game though, showing a sense of humour. It also hints that the game will be a lot closer to the Devil May Cry series than you might think.
One thing I also came across a lot were glitches. This is far from a perfect game, even if it looks lovely and polished. You can fall into areas without dying, where you should be dead, and points that don’t present a way forward because a prompt is missing. I also found myself inside walls and falling off of ledges because of one glitch or another.
Once again, since this is a demo, there’s not much to complain about. I just hope that those issues aren’t in the final game. For the game’s price as it is right now, I’d say you can overlook those issues.
Sounds of Violence
There’s not much to say about the sounds of this game. The gunfire feels meaty, as does the swordplay, but the music is quite subdued. I’d have liked to hear harder beats from the metal that plays during combat. I think there’s a lot to be said for quieter moments with beautiful symphonies as well. Hopefully, Bright Memory: Infinite remedies this.
Despite its shortfalls, I had a great time with this game. It’s mad, silly fun, and I actually jumped back in for a second playthrough when I’d realised that I’d actually finished it. It feels a little bit like you’re missing something, or you’ve forgotten half the game, but once you’re past that and the glitches, it’s a fantastic shooter with a key difference in that sword-based combat inclusion.
A review code was provided to Bago Games by the publisher.