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Blue Protocol Hands-On Impressions from Summer Game Fest [UPDATE]

Blue Protocol screenshot of five diverse characters in a grassy field wielding swords, shields, staves, and more

Update: Bandai Namco has released a new combat trailer for Blue Protocol, showcasing the game’s starting roster of playable classes. Check it out:

During Summer Game Fest’s Game Days, I got the opportunity to sit down at Amazon Games’ booth, have some charcuterie, a few drinks, and try out a little free-to-play MMORPG called Blue Protocol coming out next year. This action MMORPG is developed by Bandai Namco but will be published by Amazon Games, and it’s looking to be very promising!

The game starts with you playing a mysterious digitized-looking figure aiming to take down some strange creatures. Eventually, after defeating enough of them, a spear-wielding hero shows up. A cutscene ensues where the entity you were playing as begins attacking that hero. The spear wielder dispatches whatever you were and the game cuts into the beautiful animated opening with a full Japanese vocal song. The opening features the spear wielder, who seems to be one of the main characters, along with five others. We don’t get too much of a rundown on what the story will be about, but it does seem rather intriguing!

The next part of the Blue Protocol demo takes the player into the character creation. I was honestly pretty impressed with the options, but I hadn’t actually started a new MMO in a long time so I couldn’t say how it compares to today’s creations. (For reference, the last one I played extensively was Guild Wars 2 and I stopped only a year or so into it.) If you know me, I definitely went to make the beefiest-looking guy possible and maxed out his height and frame! The face and hair/eye color options were pretty extensive, with two-tone hair and eye colors as well as a variety of shapes and sizes for all parts of your face. This was probably my favorite part of the demo, but people who enjoy customizing and creating characters would probably feel the same way. You then get to choose your preferred voice and class.

There are five classes to choose from, and I went with the Keen Strider to use the bow and arrow. Surprisingly to me, this was the primary support and healing class. There’s no medic class or anything, so it looks like the archer is the one with the heals. I don’t personally like to be the one to be relied on for support, but I stuck with it since I like bows so much. The other classes didn’t particularly stand out to me much: the Blade Warden uses a sword and shield, the Twin Striker dual wields axes, the Spell Weaver which is exactly what it says on the tin (your mage class), and the Foe Breaker which is a heavyweight class that uses a giant hammer.

After the character creation, we jump right into the beginning parts of Blue Protocol. There’s a cutscene where you meet a random but seemingly important girl (who was in the opening movie) and she advises you to run away from monsters you encounter. Obviously, your character chooses to help out and dispatch the monsters. After we do so, and the cutscenes end, the demo cuts off and the person helping us instructs us that it is now time to experience the actual gameplay portions. Sadly we don’t get to bring the characters we created ourselves, but pre-set characters. I went with the same class as the character I created previously, the Keen Strider.

We get to explore a particular area that starts at a nighttime trading post. The battle system itself is pretty straightforward action combat, where every button press counts and you have to move around and dodge attacks. You have few skills, including one where you summon familiars, and a special attack. I had a bit of fun with the bow combat: you don’t exactly have to aim with the auto lock on, and I could attack things from a safe distance most of the time. (Though, during solo play, I was still hit quite a bit since I was the only target.) After exploring the area presented to us for a while and wandering around killing monsters, the staff instructs us to move on to the portion where everyone who demoing the game at the same time starts a co-op mission together.

Blue Protocol screenshot of a character on a horse in a lush field surrounded by rocky cliffs looking up at shattered floating archways

The mission itself is pretty straightforward: going a mountainous area to defeat a particular boss. The dungeon itself wasn’t all that difficult overall, as we went through all its obstacles smoothly. As a Keen Strider, I had to keep aware of the other players’ health and support heal where I could, though it wasn’t critical to do so in this mission. The boss of the dungeon was the true source of fun. Here, you must keep on your toes, dodge when the indicator tells you, and keep striking while you can. The boss took the majority of the time in the dungeon, as it was quite the damage sponge. Ultimately, it went down with everyone’s cooperation, ending the demo.

I had quite a lot more fun with the demo than I was expecting! I’m not a huge MMO player, as I am trying to limit the amount of (new) live service games I play. The aesthetic of Blue Protocol is definitely my jam, though, and their take on the archer class is different from most. It was enough to gain my interest despite this, and I’m sure my cousin will want to try it out at the very least.

If you want to learn more about Blue Protocol, see the official website with more information on the classes, the story, and the gameplay. They’re also posting “Meanwhile in Japan” updates when there’s important news from the Japanese side. Players can also sign up for the beta if inclined to try it out early! It’s a little bit sad they couldn’t do a simultaneous worldwide launch, but hey, at least we’re getting it!

Thank you for reading, and I hope I helped you understand Blue Protocol a little more! Please stay tuned to RPGFan for more updates on MMORPGs and more!

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Alvin Lim

Alvin Lim

Alvin was a news editor who is desperately trying to ween himself off mobile games so he has more time to play console games again. If he's not clicking on Granblue Fantasy, he's either adding more RPGs to his massive backlog, or is taking over 100 hours on a single game in it. When not gaming, he is hanging out, traveling, or cooking with his partner.

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