People who are expecting the incredible Bright Memory gameplay and visuals from previous Xbox events need to scale back their expectations now. That game is Bright Memory: Infinite, which is due to be released in 2021. Bright Memory is a 40-minute tech demo for that game, and it fails to impress on any sort of hardware level.
Bright Memory is one of the first games on the shiny new Xbox Series X, but its character models are dreadful, especially Shelia, whose hair looks taped on. The environments suffer from some of the worst pop-in in recent memory, with trees and rocks in the environment peeling into existence as the player approaches them. The game also suffered slowdown during the end boss battle, which is embarrassing for a game that looks this poor on tech as impressive as the Xbox Series X. Bright Memory also suffers from a number of glitches, with audio playing out of sync, issues with the jumping controls that send Shelia into death pits, and constant graphical screw-ups.
The main saving grace of Bright Memory is its gameplay. Shelia has access to guns, but she can also fight enemies with a sword, as well as using special abilities, like telekinetically lifting foes in a state of suspended animation. Shelia can also perform lightning-fast dodges, in order to quickly evade enemy attacks. The gameplay in Bright Memory feels very satisfying, with the switching between combat styles making Shelia feel like an action hero. Shelia shooting enemies, then diving in for sword slashes and psychic blasts, before dodging away from counters almost feels like a first-person Devil May Cry title. The game constantly tracks the player’s progress and gives rankings based on points, in a manner reminiscent of an arcade shooter, which is encouraging after chaining some impressive moves together.
The gameplay of Bright Memory means little, as its runtime is so short. A run-through of Bright Memory takes under an hour on a first run, which involves a handful of battles and boss fights, with some light platforming and puzzles. Bright Memory ends before it finds its stride, and the story is so poorly explained that it may as well not have one. It bears mentioning that Bright Memory was developed by one person and the game is an impressive feat of their diligence, but that doesn’t excuse a poor game, especially one that costs money.
It’s a shame that Bright Memory is our first Xbox Series X review (not counting our review of the console itself), as it’s not the most auspicious start for the console. This shouldn’t be an indictment of the upcoming Bright Memory: Infinite, which looks like it’s going to be an impressive game, but Bright Memory is not worth the asking price. The numerous glitches and the lack of content mean that fans should wait for Bright Memory: Infinite and leave this game well enough alone.
Bright Memory is available now for PC and Xbox Series X/S. A digital code for the Xbox Series X version of the game was provided to Screen Rant for the purposes of this review.