The closed alpha testing of Bandai Namco Entertainment’s Blue Protocol has concluded a few days ago, and if you want to take a good look at the game you have come to the right place.
The Japanese website 4Gamer posted an extensive collection of screenshots from the game showing pretty much all of the aspects available in the alpha, from the character creation to the world and battle gameplay.
If you want to see what it looks like, you can find the large gallery at the bottom of the post.
Interestingly, the alpha did not have a dedicated healer, but all classes had both healing and resurrection skills. The main city is large and it includes a port and even a beach resort, where it’s possible to swim in the sea.
The world is not seamless, but fields and towns are divided in areas, that can accommodate several players at the same time.
Quests are provided by some sort of adventurer’s guild in the city, and they are pretty much the usual fare: killing certain monsters or collecting items dropped by them (which is done automatically). Gathering was also in the game, with different materials obtained from different kinds of gathering spots.
When playing with keyboard and mouse the controls are described to be closer to a shooter than to the usual MMORPG fare, so that took a bit of adjustment. It’s possible to use a controller, and you can customize your controls. There is no targeting, so you have to actually aim at your enemies to hit them. The HUD is also customizable.
It’s important to observe the attack patterns to mobs and then alternate attacks and dodges in order to deal and avoid damage. Aegis Fighters can also block using their shields.
Jumping and dodging consume Stamina. While dodging provides invulnerability frames, the distance traveled isn’t very long, so it can be challenging.
A lock-on feature is available, but it’s situational, as at times it makes avoidance more difficult. It’s easier to use it with ranged classes.
The alpha included an instanced dungeon linked to a quest. Entering required progression in the quest and a minimum level, and clearing the dungeon yielded money, experience, and rare items.
The dungeon accommodated up to six players with automatic matching. There were no set classes as all were able to deal damage and heal. The path was linear, with small hidden rooms containing chests.
On top of the dungeon, the alpha also included field bosses, including a giant dragon that required many people to beat it.
An interesting element is the “imagine.” Basically, it’s a summonable monster that you can rarely drop when defeating enemies. You can equip up to two of them, and when summoned, they will attack your target and then disappear.
Interestingly, we also learn that appearance is separate from equipment, and it depends on costumes, so you can pretty much look however you think is cool.
If you want to see more, you can watch the initial announcement trailer and the first screenshots, and the second batch of screenshots, another gallery, a look at the Aegis Fighter class, one at the Twin Striker class, the first look at the Blast Archer, and the reveal of the Spellcaster.
Blue Protocol is an online JRPG in development for PC by a team named Project Blue Sky, which is a joint initiative of Bandai Namco Online and Bandai Namco Studios. At the moment, there is no set release date.
A western localization has also not been announced, but the initial press release mentioned that the goal is to “impress the world” so we can definitely hope to play it in English at some point.