Bright Memory: Infinite Review – I loved it in Early Access and I still love it today! - Recommended Badge

The plot is thinner than edible paper, the levels are narrow alleys – but the mixture of shooter and melee is great fun.

The story is as banana as you can imagine. Strange phenomena appear in the near future – apparently gateways to another world, because soon you are fighting in the role of Sheila Tan not only against a heavily armed special unit, but also with mythical warriors and creatures. In other words, developer Zeng Xiancheng needed some justification to launch his Thunderstorm of Effects and some reason to fight with both ballistic weapons and a sword.

With Bright Memory he wanted to create a game that combines shooters and acrobatic action that is more typical of Devil May Cry. So he worked his way into the Unreal engine, single-handedly released Bright Memory as an Early Access title on Steam, and made a big impression with it. In any case, I was immediately enthusiastic about it two years ago, which is why I was happy to support him in forging a complete game from the introduction.

At least when you consider that Bright Memory: Infinite was developed on its own, the quality of the settings and gameplay is impressive.

Now it was already said at the time that the whole thing wouldn’t be a big shooter and that’s how it happened. What released last year on PC and Xbox Series, and finally on PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch these days as Bright Memory: Infinite (the original Bright Memory was left as an unfinished prototype that’s still available for purchase) is a mere two-hour ride – in other games little more than the prologue.

That the character profile of the protagonist is more sketchy than some of her silly outfits: free. The fact that you run through narrow tubes from front to back, only interrupted by slightly larger arenas so that there is room for at least a handful of opponents: so be it. Because the fights are amazingly cool and the opponents, considering the manageable content, are pleasantly varied. Xiancheng even squeezes a few bosses into the tight running time and I really enjoyed them too. They are very similar overall, but you can call up Sheila’s entire repertoire against each of them and thus show what she’s capable of in one go.

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At the latest, Sheila can put her special skills to good use against the mythical warriors drawn into her world by the anomaly.

One of the reasons why the mixture of shooting and close combat works so well is because the transition between the two styles of play is always fluid. If you fire in a second with an assault rifle, shotgun or sniper, you can ward off incoming blows and even shots at any time by holding the shoulder button. If the timing is right, you will even throw back almost every attack – yes, even projectiles! And of course the blade is not only used for defense, but also for quick attacks. With secondary ammo, she also sticks grenades to enemies or deals sustained burn damage.

As she progresses, Sheila learns additional moves like charging attacks in the air or while sprinting. Last but not least, she carries an electromagnetic device that she uses to pull enemies towards her or levitate them in the air. In addition, if she pounces on the incapacitated, she remains in the air herself. At such moments at the latest, Bright Memory switches to full Devil May Cry mode.

You also have to defend yourself against strong bosses. Despite the short playing time, you meet several of them at the same time.

It’s not that easy to fully internalize all the finesse within the short playing time. Nevertheless, I had a hell of a lot of fun with this spectacle from the first minute! Especially since there is even a little variety with a tight crawling section, an even shorter car ride and a scene with an airplane that is as absurd as it is great. If you want, you can also start another round at an even higher difficulty level with all the skills you have already unlocked.

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I also don’t want to deny that the joy in all of this stems in large part from the extremely handsome setting. On the one hand, it’s raining and storming in the scenery, which was inspired by the Guizhou province in southwest China (of course, I only know that from the tips during the somewhat long loading times), which means there’s a lot of movement in the picture. On the other hand, flora, animations and buildings look very chic on their own, despite the many objects that have been used several times.

Technical compromises have to be accepted on Switch, but the fast-paced action also works well on handheld.

Of course, the game loses some of this visual splendor on Switch. Plants are hardly moved by the storm, splashes of water look like fly screens, faces like neglected wax figures and you have to be content with 30 second images. The fast-paced action in the core also works pleasantly well on the Nintendo console, especially since you can sometimes aim more precisely through the optional use of the movement control. Optionally, the gyro sensor only engages when sighting over the rear sight and front sight, so that a handheld held at an angle can be returned to the starting position during normal handling without distorting the crosshairs. Nice that the option was considered!

Bright Memory: Infinite – Test Conclusion

The great thing is: Zeng Xiangcheng has let his imagination run wild with his solo project and created a visually stunning spectacle that also has a great deal of playfulness. Maybe it’s not so bad that the whole thing is over after two hours, because otherwise the narrow level limits and the mundane story would carry much more weight. Instead, you spend the whole time absorbing the flow of the explosive mixture of shooter and melee action, and enjoy the elegant sequence of powerful blows and ballistic impacts. In any case, I think it’s great that once again a single developer with a brilliant idea shows what else can be found in a familiar genre. Now I hope that Xiancheng’s FYQD studio will continue to develop this and other concepts in content-rich games.