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Bright Memory - GAME REVIEW

Bright Memory suffers from numerous technical issues and completely fails to take advantage of the Xbox Series X console's capabilities.

Captured on game Bright Memory

Microsoft recently launched its next-generation Xbox Series X console alongside a slew of games for players to try on the new system. One game launching with Microsoft's new console is the sci-fi first-person shooter Bright Memory, and while its budget price may make it enticing to some, it's best if most Xbox Series X early adopters skip it entirely.

Bright Memory is available for a mere $8, which is much cheaper than most of the other games that launched with the Xbox Series X. However, it won't take long for Xbox Series X players to figure out why Bright Memory is sold at such a low price point. Not only is Bright Memory incredibly short, with players able to unlock all of the achievements in literally 1-2 hours time, but it's also marred by severe technical issues.

Bright Memory suffers from serious screen-tearing issues when playing on the Xbox Series X, with a chugging frame rate to go along with it. Despite the game supposedly being optimized for Xbox Series X, it performs worse than any other Series X launch title we tested, and is not a great way of showing off the console's capabilities at all. There's nothing about Bright Memory's performance that makes it feel like a next-gen game in the slightest.

Bright Memory lags behind other Xbox Series X launch titles in terms of its visuals as well. There are brief moments when Bright Memory's environments look impressive, but otherwise the game is bland, with poorly-animated character models, clipping issues, and all other kinds of visual defects.

Captured on game Bright Memory

Bright Memory's characters in general are a low point, largely thanks to its nonsensical story and poor voice acting performances. Players take on the role of a generic sci-fi soldier character named Shelia who has to kill a slew of monsters while coming into conflict with armed human antagonists. Even after completing the game, it's unclear exactly what was going on, and the abrupt ending will leave players as clueless as they were when they first started.

Bright Memory's voice acting is yet another one of the game's glaring flaws, with Shelia's actor putting unnecessary inflection on sentences like she's always asking a question. The other performances aren't any better, though to be fair, the dialogue that they had to work with is B-movie quality stuff. It's cheesy and weird, and not in a fun, "so bad it's good" kind of way. Beyond the voice acting, Bright Memory players will also notice that the audio design in general is lacking, with the music in the main menu sometimes sounding like it's cutting out.

All of these flaws could be forgiven, to an extent, if Bright Memory had compelling gameplay. Unfortunately, Bright Memory is about as basic as it comes, and its attempt to marry first-person shooter gameplay with Devil May Cry-style melee action doesn't quite hit the mark. Unresponsive controls can sometimes make Bright Memory's combat a nightmare, and trying to combine the melee combat with the shooting is disorienting. There's a reason why games like Devil May Cry are third-person.

Captured on game Bright Memory

Leaning in to the Devil May Cry inspiration, Bright Memory ranks players based on their performance in any given combat encounter with letter rankings. On paper, this seems like it would actually go a long way in making every fight more meaningful and exciting, as players are rewarded for killing enemies in stylish ways, utilizing all of the tools at their disposal. And for the most part, it succeeds at that. The issue is that the rankings like to randomly disappear from the screen, then reappear moments later when players are doing something completely different, like walking down a hallway. Like the visuals, Bright Memory's combat system is undermined by bugs and technical shortcomings.

However, as players collect XP and earn upgrades in Bright Memory, the combat gradually becomes more fun. Bright Memory's New Game+ playthroughs are where things finally click, as players will have access to a wider arsenal of abilities. If they're quick enough (and the controls cooperate), fully-leveled Bright Memory players can string together impressive combos, allowing them to juggle enemies in the air for long periods of time.

Now the caveat to all of this criticism is that Bright Memory comes from a one-man development team. When one takes this into account, Bright Memory is much more impressive. However, this doesn't change the game's quality, and in its current state, it's impossible to recommend to any Xbox Series X early adopters. The upcoming Bright Memory: Infinite looks much better, both in terms of graphics and gameplay, and maybe it will defy expectations.

Captured on game Bright Memory

While Bright Memory: Infinite may end up being a more well-rounded gameplay experience, Bright Memory in its current state is arguably the worst title in the Xbox Series X launch lineup and even though it's available at a budget price and only lasts a couple of hours, it's still difficult to recommend to anyone.

Bright Memory is out now for Android, iOS, PC, and Xbox Series X. Game Rant reviewed the game on Xbox Series X.

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