Title: Bright Memory
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Reviewed On: Xbox Series X
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Sometimes I enjoy covering a game more than actually playing it. As I learned more about the one-person developed Bright Memory, I first thought the graphics looked awesome, but the fast-paced gameplay also held my interest. However, after finally playing a verticle slice of the adventure, I wish I would have waited until Bright Memory: Infinite. Sadly, Bright Memory is not a good game and should have probably just been released as a concept demo.
Bright Memory does its best to catch you up to speed on the main protagonist Shelia, but after 10 minutes, you’ll hear from three other characters and realize that they each have a history that will not be explained. And that’s pretty much it, storywise. I mean, sure, you get sucked into another world, battle against demons, battle against humans, collect some items and explore, but I can’t tell you why this is all happening.
Shelia is the master of talking to herself, though. Any chance that she gets, you’ll hear her comment on the situation, but she’ll never say anything important. Most of the time, she will bring up a lab and doctor we never meet or learn more about. I’m wondering if arriving here was all an accident, why do these weaponized men and even Shelia know so much about what they’re looking for? I have so many questions, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t really care. I honestly just wanted it to end.
Bright Memory is a first-person shooter with a few different skills available to get you through encounters. Most of the time, enemies will spawn haphazardly around the field in waves, and you’ll have to take them down. Nothing too crazy, but then you realize how these enemies are just bullet sponges as you unload bullet after bullet into them. The game encourages the use of skills and shooting, but I should really play the way I want.
The skills in Bright Memory are things like slow down speed, grapple, and launch telekinesis. Each ability has a cool down, but I didn’t particularly like any of them outside of the sword. These can be leveled up using experience points as well, but in this game, you might find it hard to get enough to unlock everything, so choose wisely across playthroughs.
The gameplay itself is just a mess. There are some strange moments where you’ll enter an area and automatically get flash banged while a group of enemies or shooting at you. Why was this here? And why was it put so early in the game when you haven’t even mastered the control yet? Then there’s a moment where you transported to another dimension to fight a boss, but why? See, here I go again, asking questions that this game doesn’t provide answers to, making the entire experience a waste.
It’s not all bad though, Bright Memory works as a fast action shooter, and it looks fairly good. The enemy designs don’t really vary, but the last boss was cool. Shelia has a nice character model with the option to change her costumes, and the developer seemed to put time into creating decent environments. Still, the platforming sections are messy, and some design choices like the water effect on the screen clutter the HUD, which needs a substantial update to explain all the skills and abilities but not take up the entire screen.
Bright Memory shouldn’t be played; it’s just not ready. The one-person developed action is a decent concept, but it should have been released as a demo in anticipation for Bright Memory: Infinite. The Xbox Series X version adds nothing to the experience, but if you’re eager to spend an hour mindlessly shooting enemies and rolling your eyes, then, by all means, pick this up.
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