When the credits started rolling on Bright Memory: Infinite, my jaw nearly hit the floor. In any other game, I’d be a few hours away from someone saying, “we’re just getting started.” But after just under 2 hours, I was done.
It’s clear that a game developed by one person can only look and play this well if it’s extremely short. Bright Memory: Infinite has a style of its own, but it’s reminiscent of other first-person shooters like Crysis and Titanfall 2. It’s all intense FPS battles through linear levels with scripted spectacle moments.
Yes, there are little things that clue you into the true scope and budget of the game—the main character looks like a doll, there are some rough animations here and there—but these are the kinds of things that get cleaned up when you have 800 people making a game for four years.
And regardless of the many qualifications you can easily make for a game made by one person, you don’t really have to. Bright Memory’s two short hours had me cackling with glee as I carved up mercs and dashed around rain-soaked battlefields. It looks great and it controls well.
There isn’t much you can say about a game so short without getting into spoilers, but suffice to say, you get up to some wild shit after the first 15 minutes or so. The story is nonsense. You can barely hear the comically stiff dialogue over explosions and gunfire, but it’s all just scaffolding for a series of crazy, cheesy, stylish moments.
It all comes together for a game that couldn’t be more perfect for a service like Xbox Game Pass. Should you buy Bright Memory: Infinite? At full price I’d say a lot of people would finish the game and feel a sting of regret. As another game in the massive Game Pass roster though? It couldn’t be more perfect.
This is a game shorter than most summer blockbuster movies, on a service that’s not unlike Netflix. It’s a great match, and a format that feels just right. A lot of people ask for shorter games, imagining what it would be like to play bite-sized, triple-A, experiences. Well, if you like first-person shooters, here’s one you shouldn’t miss.
I don’t want to oversell it though. Bright Memory is not a masterpiece. Don’t get it twisted, Titanfall 2 is often sold for $2.99 on multiple platforms, and if you haven’t played that campaign, you have a bigger, better game to play. But Bright Memory fulfills an awesome little niche, and feels great as a game you can download and finish in a single sitting.
There’s absolutely a place for games like this, even if that place is—to make another movie analogy—somewhere between the camp horror and the goofy kung-fu shelves of an imaginary video store.