Bright Memory is an Xbox Series X|S console exclusive title that acts as a short prologue to the upcoming Bright Memory Infinite. It’s a lightning-fast FPS created by a single developer, which makes it an impressive feat. He didn’t work on the console port himself though, so please know that most of the criticism below should probably be aimed at the porting company. There is a solid game concept present here, but it might still need a lot of work for the final release next year.
What we liked!
The Graphics: The game looks amazing. While the human character designs seem like remnants from at least a decade ago, the world you’re traversing looks amazing and the special effects will make your eyes water. I’m really curious to see what kind of places the final game will take us to.
Abilities: It’s only a glorified demo, but you can unlock some pretty advanced skills already that will allow you to juggle enemies in the air. It looks & feels great and there’s even an achievement tied to keeping them in the air for 15+ seconds. I also really loved the sword-slashing effects, allowing you to hit enemies from afar with your light blade.
Checkpoints: The game is pretty difficult, with enemies sometimes catching you by surprise and finishing you off in a few hits, especially on a 3rd run or beyond. So you’ll be happy to hear that there are mid-combat checkpoints so you won’t have to replay too much before you get back to where you died.
The Achievements: While it’s a very short game that you can beat in around 30-40 minutes (with 3 required playthroughs to get all achievements) it’s still giving you the full 1000G and it can be pretty satisfying to unlock giant achievements worth up to 160G a pop.
Not available on Xbox One: It’s one of the few games available on the Series X|S that won’t be able to run on the previous generation of consoles. Sure, it looks great, but you kind of have to wonder why because there is even a Mobile version.
Story: It’s hard to tell what’s going on in this small slice of the final product. It mentions characters we don’t yet know, events that still need to happen, and other elements that left me wondering. It could turn out to be an interesting plot, but it’s too early to tell. I do know the voice acting & delivery will need a lot of work though.
The scoring system: Similar to games like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, you’ll get a combat rating telling you how stylish you were. It’s fun to get SSS ratings and adds some replayability as you may want to get better scores, but it did seem to be a bit generous with them, even giving me a high ranking when I got hit a few times.
Collectables: There are a few collectibles hidden throughout the game. It’s nice that these are here, but “hidden” is the operative word: They’re hard to spot and the tiny indicator to pick them up only because visible when you get really close to them.
Length: It’s short. Very short. With a first-run probably taking you between 30-40 minutes and next runs between 20-30. Personally, I didn’t mind and I was fully aware of the tech-demo nature of the game, but it’s something everyone considering a purchase should take not of.
What we disliked
Enemy behavior and physics: There are a lot of buggy interactions with the enemies and it’s annoying that you can’t expect them to behave the same every time. They’ll spawn behind you, leaving you with no chance to fight back or they’ll get stuck in the environment, making you look for them so you can continue to the next area. There was even an instance where one of them stuck to me like glue and I couldn’t hit him nor could he hit me, requiring me to reload a checkpoint.
Graphical issues: There seemed to be a lot of screen-tearing, flickering RGB lights and other visual issues here. Also noticeable were a few locations where there seemed to be a light source reflecting of walls and surfaces, yet you couldn’t see the actual source of the light.
Sound issues: The sound seems to have suffered the most from the port to consoles. There are echo’s everywhere with annoying reverb effects as well as other audio glitches that are hard to ignore.
Gameplay: Your abilities all have cooldowns, but it can be very unclear when a certain ability is available or not. Some of them are tied to your sword attack, some of them don’t work shortly after using another ability and it even happened a few times that I couldn’t shoot the guns even though I had a full clip. It’s too unclear why something doesn’t work when you expected it to and it can cause quite a few unwarranted deaths.
Menu navigation: Nowhere is the PC > console port as obvious as when browsing the menus. Instead of being able to navigate them with the D-pad or have buttons highlighted to toggle between, you have to move an actual cursor around. Even when you’re in the midst of combat, you’ll have to move your cursor to the X to close the window instead of being able to simply press B on your controller to exit the menu.
Unskippable cutscenes: In a game as short as this one, with required multiple playthroughs to get all the achievements and a timer at the end to motivate speedrunners, it’s a bit of a shame that you have to rewatch every cutscene without an option to skip them.
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