Blue Protocol Preview: Amazon's Most Promising MMO Yet

Blue Protocol's solid gameplay mechanics and varying classes help set it apart in a crowded landscape.

As Amazon has continued to expand its presence in the video game industry, it has done so by primarily releasing a variety of MMOs. Some of the biggest titles by Amazon Games in recent years have included titles like New World, Lost Ark, and will soon be joined by Throne & Liberty and a new Lord of the Rings game, all of which fall into the MMO genre. Despite focusing so heavily on games of this type, the forthcoming release of Blue Protocol, which is developed by Bandai Namco, seems like it has the chance to be Amazon's best MMO so far. 

During Summer Game Fest this past month, I was able to go hands-on with an extended demo of Blue Protocol. For the most part, my own play session allowed me to become more familiar with the gameplay mechanics found at the root of this anime-influenced action game. In a general sense, what Bandai Namco has created is quite engaging, although I'm still uncertain about how much depth might be present. 

(Photo: Amazon Games)

After playing a couple of opening tutorials to get me familiar with the basic gameplay stylings of Blue Protocol, I was let loose to run around the game's expansive world. One of the most noticeable things about Blue Protocol at first glance is its art style, which is incredibly vibrant and looks great in motion. This vibrancy doesn't only extend to the game's main characters and enemies, though, as its landscapes also looked quite good in my demo. 

When venturing throughout Blue Protocol, I primarily traveled on the back of my mount. Mounts in the game seem relatively basic, as they're only a means of travel and can't take part in combat. That being said, there does seem to be a high level of customization that is found with both the mounts and player-controller characters. This is something that I imagine anime fans will find particular excitement in as they'll be able to create the original character that they've always dreamed of thanks to the customization tools on display. 

(Photo: Amazon Games)

From a pure gameplay standpoint, there's quite a lot that I liked in Blue Protocol. Compared to a number of other MMOs, Blue Protocol features real-time combat, which is far more engaging on a moment-to-moment basis. These combat mechanics also come with a fair number of unique abilities that differ amongst the game's five different classes. During my own demo, I primarily used the Foe Breaker class, which has a hammer as its key weapon. Rather than solely blasting enemies around with said hammer, though, the Foe Breaker class comes with a variety of ranged attacks as well. This unique style of play is something that I haven't seen much of in an MMO before and is something that extends to the other four classes in the game as well. 

Likely one of the coolest things about Blue Protocol is that you'll be able to swap classes on the fly. Rather than locking yourself into one playstyle at the outset, Blue Protocol lets players rotate between the weapons that each class features whenever they so choose. Essentially, classes are only defined by weapons rather than other characteristics that are seen in various competing MMOs. So if you find yourself getting tired of playing as a Blade Warden, which utilizes a sword and shield, you can then switch to the Twin Striker, which lets players dual-wield axes. This mixing and matching of playstyles might be Blue Protocol's biggest strength and is something that should give the game more longevity. 

To endcap my demo of Blue Protocol, I was able to try out one of the game's dungeons alongside a number of other players. This ended up being the most enjoyable part of the game as it was entirely gameplay centric and action-packed from start to finish. Teaming up with a larger group and combining our various abilities and skills to take down foes was a lot of fun and filled the screen with all kinds of spells and flashy attacks. This dungeon eventually culminated in a large boss, which was perhaps a bit too spongey. Still, I came away impressed with this aspect of Blue Protocol and I imagine that the enjoyment I had would only be amplified by playing with a group of friends.   

(Photo: Amazon Games)

Despite being largely positive about Blue Protocol, I did come away with a few reservations. For starters, I still have no idea about how many of its other foundational elements will work. I didn't partake in any quests, nor did I really toy around with its leveling system or skill trees. Additionally, despite being pleasing to look at, Blue Protocol's world felt pretty empty and wasn't that engaging to wander about. This could definitely be rectified in the final game, but I can only go off of what I've played for myself at the moment. 

Even though I'm still not sure about the finer specifics of what Blue Protocol will entail in its full release, I'm pretty optimistic about the game so far. There seems to be a strong gameplay core here that Amazon and Bandai Namco can really build off of. If these mechanics are accompanied by a compelling world, strong quest design, and a gripping narrative, Blue Protocol has the chance to be a huge success in an MMO market that only continues to get competitive. 

Blue Protocol doesn't have a specific release date just yet, but it is planned to launch at some point in 2024. When it does release, it will be coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Prior to that time, a closed beta is also planned to occur before the end of 2023.