When I first saw the trailer for Bright Memory: Infinite for PlayStation 5, I was thoroughly impressed by how fast paced and fun it looked. The snappy looking movements flowed really well with the crazy looking katana, wall running, and outpouring of bullets. Bright Memory: Infinite looked like a blast. For a good portion of my roughly four hours it took to get to the credits, I had fun. But for the majority of the time I was fuming because of the bugs and issues I was having with the game.
Here’s the problem.
Bright Memory: Infinite is only about two hours long. You are given a handful of bosses, the same sort of environment repeated, and some weird cutscenes about a black hole that is devouring the island you are on. Weirdly enough, the black hole isn’t picking you up but it is uprooting trees from the beaches. The logic is probably better left unquestioned in this one.
The story is nonsense. You play a woman named Shelia who is tasked by the Science Research Organization (SRO, clever, right?) and you have to stop the SAI (not sure what it stands for) from getting their hands on some legendary technology that awakens the dead. Shelia has to do all of this while a black hole is tearing up the island the journey takes place on. As Shelia, you fight generic looking future soldiers. Some of these guys have swords, riot shields, electric fists, etc. Eventually you stumble into the other enemy type that makes this game a little more interesting, the undead soldiers. These hulking undead carry massive swords and shields, some have bows with flaming arrows and others run at you unarmed. The bosses in this game are all different variations of undead soldiers. The designs are generic, but they keep the game fresh and interesting. I’d rather look at generic undead soldiers than the same generic future soldier man over and over again.
The ambition that Bright Memory: Infinite shows cannot be ignored. What is incredible is that most of the development was done by one guy. What is less incredible is that it often shows. I had so many glitches and game breaking bugs in my playthrough. There is this really terrible stealth section that has you crawling around a wide open space. You pick up a meat cleaver and you use that to cut up soldiers who are unsuspecting. The AI for this particular section is really rough. Enemies forget where you are the instant you step behind cover and that really takes away any of the possible tension. I would have much preferred running through this area guns blazing and sword swinging. This was where I first stumbled upon a bug. The marker telling me where to go vanished all of a sudden. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but all of the areas in this game look the same. I couldn’t find my way out. So I reloaded and it disappeared again. Thankfully the second time I remembered vaguely in which direction the marker was and I was able to get out, but I was very frustrated.
Shortly after that stealth section, I got to a boss called “Giant King.” I brought him down to zero health and got the Gold Trophy telling me I had beaten him. However at the same time, I was killed by a roaming enemy off to the side. So as I killed this boss, I too died. The game reloaded and brought me right back to the start of the stealth section. I was flabbergasted. I started playing thinking maybe it was part of the story and it was some sort of time travel motif being introduced, but no, the game wrong warped me back to the start of the awful stealth section I was complaining about. At this point I was livid and decided to take a few days off from Bright Memory: Infinite. A few days later I came back to champion through the stealth section once more and take on the Giant King yet again. The same thing happened. We killed each other, except instead of loading at the start of the stealth section, I loaded BACK AT THE START OF THE GAME.
Normally, I’d have a pretty easy time recommending this to someone if it was on sale. I’d tell them “if you’re looking for a nice two to three hour FPS experience, then look no further.” However, Bright Memory: Infinite won’t let me get to the credits screen ever, and it’s a very short experience. So I don’t think I could recommend it. Especially at its price point. Games like Inside or Limbo are only an hour or so longer than this, but you are getting a fabulous/bug free/extremely memorable experience with those games. What pains me most is that when the gameplay works, Bright Memory: Infinite is a total blast. Zipping around the environment and stabbing soldiers and shooting guys in the head feels great. Those great moments are unfortunately short lived.
Bright Memory: Infinite is giving you some fun yet extremely repetitive gameplay with bugs and gamebreaking glitches galore. If this ever drops to $10 and those issues are ironed out, then I say go for it. But until then, it might be best to leave Bright Memory: Infinite forgotten.