Microsoft showed off some games recently that will be optimized for the Xbox Series X. Among them is the FPS action combo-centric shooter, Bright Memory Infinite (BMI). BMI is being made by Zeng Xiancheng, the developer of the one-man studio, FYQD. Since 2015, he’s been developing Bright Memory and five years later, the current build of the game includes RTX Ray-Tracing, polished animations, and some replayability.
Gameplay and Story Impressions
The game starts by dropping players into the action by playing as the Supernatural Science Research Oranization (SRO) agent, Shelia. After the initial fight, Shelia gets ambushed before being teleported to the island floating above the North Pole. From there, she will have to use the technology the SRO has given her to shoot, hack, and slash her way through the new land to find the source of the substance known as the “Soul of Jiu Xuan.”
At first, it seems like nonsense as characters will mention some outrageous details like they’re commonplace. The fact the North Pole has a floating island above it and the characters mention it like it’s nothing is hilarious, if not baffling.
Fortunately, the game’s story mostly serves as an excuse to bring players to fight the mystic/ancient creatures which reside on this small floating continent. Players will be fighting the likes of wolves, chimeras, undead soldiers, and even evil spirits who guard the various realms.
Do a Cool Combo!
One of the early loading screens tells players to “use various skills to do a cool combo.” While it sounds silly, this game is all about doing flashy combos to take down the various monsters standing in Shelia’s way. Luckily for a combo-centric action game like this, there are several upgrades that enable Shelia to perform beautifully in combat. There are powers that borrow from games like Bulletstorm, which throw enemies into the air in stasis to shoot and slash, or the air combo skill which lets Shelia float whenever a bullet or a slash connects after jumping.
Unfortunately for first-time players, Shelia’s survivability in her arsenal is lacking. Her health is low when Bright Memory begins and she can be overwhelmed by enemies surrounding her if she’s not careful. That’s why the game promotes doing combos through using different abilities and guns while generally taking no damage. It even has a style meter to show how stylish she is while fighting the mystical undead army.
In-between battles, Shelia must traverse to the next zone to continue the journey. While getting to the fight can be short, there are some odd platforming sequences that require the player to use their grappling hook. Unfortunately, the grappling hook notification can be easily missed as players attempt to jump over a ledge with no success, forcing them to restart from the checkpoint. Additionally, some of the puzzles are generic sequences seen from other games, such as a rotating floor, and simply pulling levers.
Personally, the game should stick to the gunfights and fighting more mystical creatures, as that is the main standpoint of the game.
Ruthless Boss Battles
Throughout the course of the levels, Shelia will come across mysterious bosses that look like they’ve been torn straight from the Dark Souls universe. This could be due to FYQD Studios using models from pirated websites a year ago, as Zeng stated, “I will soon find a gaming art company to redesign these models and make some changes to the game… Now I have money to address this issue. I am deeply sorry for what has happened.” Even if the models were changed since this statement, the designs definitely still take inspiration from some of From Software’s IP’s.
At first, players will think they have the advantage since they have a nice arsenal of ranged weapons. Unfortunately, the bosses have a lot more health than several magazines worth of gunshots. Players will need to think critically and dodge in time with the combos the bosses deal. While it can be as simple as doing a dodge on the last heavy hit, players will find they need to be mindful of the environment, as dodging randomly can cause some problems such as running into walls and being surrounded by smaller goons.
If players are expecting to simply change the difficulty, then they will be disappointed. Bright Memory’s difficulty is set in stone. Players will have to bite the bullet and learn to use their abilities sparingly while realizing the automatic shotgun is the general way to go about these battles.
The positive side is when the player decides to replay the mission, they can play it while keeping all of their previous abilities and progress, much like Doom Eternal. This means players have a better chance at doing spectacular SSS rank combos and have an easier time in some of the shootouts.
One Man, Tons of Work
The graphics in Bright Memory are something that many indie studios could replicate. All of the character designs look polished, with tight animations and realistic facial expressions on Shelia at least. Other enemies and humanoid characters seen have a dead look in their eyes and look out of place, despite the cinematic look RTX adds to these models. Additionally, the game will be running efficiently on the Xbox Series X with full 4K Ultra HD, 60FPS, and ray tracing.
FYQD is just a single man doing all the work. Aside from the voice-acting, which he would gladly do if Shelia wasn’t the protagonist, he worked on almost every aspect of the game.
For the facial expressions, Zeng Xiancheng tried to animate the expressions using various 3D animation software and was unsatisfied with how they turned out. Eventually, Xiancheng found a real-time 3D animation and rendering program called iClone, which uses real-time playback to render faces instantly during a scene. The program even has the ability to automatically generate lip-syncing, which makes the characters in Bright Memory look natural when speaking. Xiancheng also saves time with the facial animations using Live Face to mocap his face to render in the software to create expressions easier.
FYQD Studios was able to create the original Bright Memory within a year of development because of these software programs.
Since the announcement of Bright Memory Infinite, Xiancheng stated he will no longer be developing the original Bright Memory: Episode 1, but will add new features to it as Bright Memory Infinite comes closer to completion.
FYQD Studios will be hard at work during the development of Infinite and assures players that the game will be finished and optimized for the Xbox Series X. When it releases, players can expect more action, dazzling fights, and most of all, cool combos.
For more news about Bright Memory Infinite, check out here.
Stay tuned in to Gaming Instincts for more gaming news.