One of the big questions when it comes to games is this: how long should a game be? Are we looking for 60-hour epics that you can dump weeks into? Would we prefer smaller, more condensed experiences that don’t last especially long but pack a lot of great content into their run times? Bright Memory: Infinite goes the latter route: dump as much action as possible into an incredibly short run-time and hope it works. While the asking price is a little iffy for that kind of experiment, the action on offer here is entirely worthwhile. It’s bound to leave the player wanting more.
Bright Memory: Infinite (and yes, in an unsurprising turn, at least two mainstream sites have made near-identical “finite” jokes in their headlines) is an extended take on the original Bright Memory, a small tech-demo sort of release from Chinese studio FYQD back in 2020. We follow super-soldier Shelia as she infiltrates a mysterious island seeking information on a bizarre natural phenomenon and an enemy army’s plans for the area. Armed with a sword, guns and bionic arm, Shelia’s ready to take out all manner of soldiers and monsters in her search for the truth.
Bright Memory’s all about combat – it’s a sort of first-person rendition of the kind of gameplay you’d expect from Devil May Cry. Hacking away with your sword, switching to your firearms and charging into foes with your bionic arm are all simple to do and flow together nicely. Aerial combos that would make Dante jealous are the order of the day right from the start, and by upgrading Shelia’s capabilities you can perform even more impressive feats. Enemies, meanwhile, tend to be pretty aggressive, so you’ll need to be on your toes with counterattacks to set them off balance and allow you to strike back.
One concern is that Bright Memory: Infinite is over surprisingly quickly. Well, it’s surprising only if you didn’t play the original, which was maybe twenty minutes long. Infinite, meanwhile, is a whopping six times as long! …which means it’s a little under two hours, and a sizable chunk of that is spent on an unskippable stealth sequence. Right as things start to pick up, Infinite ends. It’s a little unfortunate, but that’s how it tends to go with releases from smaller studios.
On the other hand, the level of graphical fidelity on display in Bright Memory: Infinite isn’t something you usually see from pixel-art-hungry indie studios. This is an absolutely gorgeous game on par with some recent releases from AAA studios. Even if you’ve got a powerful PC, Infinite is happy to put it through its paces. There’s some quirks here and there – the meat cleaver Shelia wields for that stealth sequence looks a little weird, for instance – but it’s not the end of the world, and on the whole Infinite looks and plays shockingly well.
Bright Memory: Infinite punches above its weight class in a way that indie games struggle to do. That said, the incredibly short run time means it’s probably best to wait for a sale. It’s a solid experience with enjoyable content, but a little more meat on this game’s bones would have been an improvement. We can only hope that this serves as a preview for some solid games coming from FYQD in the future.