Bright Memory: Infinite feels like an interactive, cheap sci-fi action movie, for better or for worse. It offers incredible – and wonderfully improbable – action sequences propelled by a story that can hardly be classified as narrative. Infinite even has a running time comparable to some movies. Alas, Bright Memory: Infinite burns out before fading, peaking early and promising before ending faster than expected.
Bright Memory isn’t so much a story as it is a series of events that just happen. You are Shelia Tan, an emotionally wooden but capable soldier who specializes in supernatural phenomena. A black hole appears in the sky, swallowing everything in range and causing catastrophic weather. This void is somehow connected to an age-old mystery in which an apparently evil organization — led by the most ignorant villain in years — has a vested interest. Your goal is to stop these guys and find out what the hell is going on. If you’re not confused with high-tech soldiers, you’ll be fighting ancient warriors and alien demons for reasons not sufficiently explained. The plot barely tries to make sense of the events, just telling you that enemies are evil and must be shot and/or stabbed in the face. Even after telling my brain that the services were not needed for this story, I was still floored by the horribly abrupt ending. Just as it looks like the second half is starting, the story pulls the plug with barely any resolution. This whiplash is shocking and I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.
I care less about the story that ends quickly and more disappointed that I couldn’t play more of the game itself. Playing Bright Memory: Infinite is exciting thanks to its silky smooth, fast-paced combination of sword and gunplay. Cutting enemies apart with Shelia’s sword feels incredibly satisfying. So does a parry that deflects bullets and stuns enemies so you can launch them Devil May Cry style and juggle the skies. Even better is an upgrade that fires energy beams with each swing, essentially turning the sword into another long-range weapon. The four firearms – an assault rifle, shotgun, pistol and sniper rifle – feel good on their own, and each has a fun alternate shooting mode, some of which are delightfully silly. Not sure why a sniper rifle would fire a sticky grenade as well, but I liked using it to blow multiple targets apart.
Shelia’s Exo Arm offers another fun tool, letting you manipulate gravity to pull enemies toward you, then blast them apart with an EMP punch. This is great for dealing with remote threats and practically breaks (in a good way) once fully upgraded. Thanks to a very generous cooldown, I was constantly picking enemies from the other side of the map, sometimes with little consequence. Chances are, you will gain this power and others much sooner rather than later. The game showers players with collectable upgrade points that are easy to find in the linear environments. I fully upgraded half of the available skills within the first 90 minutes. Parkour-style traversal and a grappling hook make exploration fun, but the platforming challenges themselves are simple and don’t take full advantage of your maneuverability.
As entertaining as Bright Memory: Infinite is, the action peaks early. During the roughly two and a half hour adventure, expect to face limited combinations of the small group of enemy types (you read that right). Some battles take place in a temple courtyard, others atop passenger planes flying into the black hole. Regardless of the ridiculous background, confrontations eventually end because enemy encounters aren’t given enough time to evolve. In turn, my approach didn’t after a while either, which is a shame. I loved combining my skills in great ways, but eventually got into a familiar rhythm, although the entertaining boss fights against equally capable swordsmen or a mythical behemoth offered the challenge I desired. Clear Memory: Infinite ended the moment I firmly mastered my basic skills; a disappointing payoff from the enjoyable learning curve.
In many ways, Bright Memory: Infinite feels like an extended technical demo. The breathtaking action and great graphics would be a great selling point for any new platform and seem almost too good to be true. Developer FYQD Studio proved some great concepts, but didn’t evolve them into a more complete adventure. Short games aren’t necessarily bad, but Bright Memory: Infinite leaves me wanting so much more and is full of unrealized potential.