Games with really good, truly satisfying melee combat?

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#1 Posted by thedarklinglord (1031 posts) -

Specifically, third-person action/adventure/RPG titles, though Dead Island would also qualify. (Mostly, I want to avoid lists of fighting games.)

I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II and, as with Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, I was suddenly reminded of how much I love the combat in those games. You can't really button mash your way through encounters. And while you don't need to apply all the combat mechanics, I really like that a given fight can involve blocking, attacking, parrying and riposting, roll-dodging and backstabbing, and it all flows rather nicely. Granted, the deliberate nature of the combat can make it seem slow, and I've certainly had friends level that criticism against the games, but I appreciate that more methodical pace. It feels a little more 'real' because you don't just wildly hack and slash like a madman, both because you'd leave yourself open to counterattacks and you'd tire yourself out, which is why I even love the stamina system.

I also really like the way it feels. When you hit an enemy's guard, the way your weapon clashes against the shield and bounces back, you can almost feel the vibration in your hand. And when you pull off parry and riposte, or you pull off a backstab, there's a impact to those hits and, on more than one occasion, I've found myself vocalizing a satisfied grunt as my weapon connects. Plus, the animations are brutal. Seriously. Even though the idea of a "backstab" with the weapon is ridiculous, when you bring down one of those massive clubs or hammers and just pulverize a dude with it...it feels good.

Dead Island would also make my list. Even though that game had plenty of flaws, the analog combat that let you hack off limbs, lop off heads, or break bones was fun all the way up to the game's end. There was something really satisfying about the crunch of a wrench breaking a Thug's arm and seeing it just hang limp and useless at his side, or waiting with a machete drawn back while an Infected charging in, then taking that swing and getting the slow motion kill of the head coming clean off. I think Dead Island was the first time I ever enjoyed first-person melee.

And, of course, Batman: Arkham Asylum has to be mentioned. That style of combat quickly got done to death over the years following that game's release, with varying degrees of success, but the original will probably always be the best. It was great to have a combat system that let you effectively take on large groups of enemies without being some mindless Dynasty Warriors button mash-a-thon. You can to mix things up, if for no other reason than to deal with the various enemy types, and it looked the way you want Batman to look: a total badass darting all over the place, disorienting his foes, and pummeling them in a way that made you feel it would almost be better (i.e. more humane) if Batman did kill, because the pain med and wheelchair market was about to skyrocket. Fluid, brutal, beautiful combat that was a lot of fun to master.

So, what are some of the games make your list?

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#2 Edited by nepu7supastar7 (5188 posts) -

For this, I go to adventure games and hack and slash.

Ninja Gaiden

Bayonetta

Devil May Cry

Batman Arkham games

Those are my go to's.

It's too hard to find that in rpg's.

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#3 Posted by mrbojangles25 (44352 posts) -

Batman: Arkham _____ series

also LOTR: Shadow of Mordor, essentially the combat of Batman games but with swords and stuff. Really satisfying.

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#4 Posted by DrRollinstein (1158 posts) -

If we are talking great combat, Dragons Dogma: Dark arisen is a must.

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#5 Posted by Nirogol (511 posts) -

Bloodborne

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#6 Edited by RSM-HQ (8602 posts) -
  • Devil May Cry 3/4
  • Ninja Gaiden Black/ Sigma/ II/ Sigma II
  • Monster Hunter (franchise)
  • Bayonetta 1/ 2
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
  • Dark Souls III
  • Bloodborne

*I don't think the combat in the first two Dark Souls are very good at all. Slow, clunky, and lacking any balance, backstabs was the norm and easily abused. It did have some depth, but not a very good overall system. I'll remember the first two DkS games best for being an overall package. But FROM did right with BB and made it more varied in DkSIII.

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#7 Edited by mirgamer (2489 posts) -

Warframe is pretty good, especially for a F2P. You'll lose no money, just a bit of time so why not try?

It has a very interesting world and lore too.

Kingdoms of Amalur should be pretty dirt cheap and has rather engaging(altho much easier) melee combat. Its also a little over the top but thats just the design. But there are mods to make the game alot harder. Game was also heavily inspired by MMO designs and Fable so that might be off-putting for some but winner for others.

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#8 Posted by DaVillain- (37990 posts) -

My top 5 that have some really good melee combat are:

  1. Metal Gear Rising
  2. Dying Light
  3. Dead Island/Riptide
  4. Bayonetta
  5. God of War series
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#9 Posted by thehig1 (7355 posts) -

Souls games are the only games combat has felt satisfying to me.

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#10 Posted by Velius (66 posts) -

DOOM!!!

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#11 Posted by judaspete (3127 posts) -

Definitely Bayonetta. I liked how the punches had a slightly different timing to them than the kicks. Made it so you really couldn't mash your way through (not well anyway).

Might seem a bit simple now, but I loved the combat in the first Soul Reaver. The basic fight system seemed to build off Zelda, then they threw environmental hazards into the mix. Vampires could be injured but not killed with basic melee. You had to set them on fire, push them in sunlight, throw them in water, or stab them through the heart to finish the job. I realize this doesn't sound like much by today's standards, but in 1999 it blew my little mind.

Monster Hunter.

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#12 Edited by loyaltoxbox (32 posts) -

Ryse : Son of Rome. It's a very satisfying game when it comes to melee combat, the only issue with this game is that...it's very repetitive but if you don't mind that you should definitely check out that game.

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#13 Posted by iwilson1296 (2499 posts) -

Condemned criminal origins, it's first person i know but still one of the best melee combat games i've played and say its worth trying.

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#14 Posted by DrRollinstein (1158 posts) -

@mirgamer: KOA is well worth playing. The story and characters can be slow and repetitive respectively, but the combat shines.

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#15 Posted by GMAK2442 (967 posts) -

Combat ala Dark Soul is just boring and repetitive to me. Compare to Batman Arkham, it's not fun.

So my preferred one is Mad Max so far. Combat was excellent.

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#16 Posted by Planeforger (18103 posts) -

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Mount and Blade yet.

That game/series features some of the best melee combat around, with a proper physics system behind it to calculate weapon momentum and everything.

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#17 Edited by RSM-HQ (8602 posts) -

@Planeforger said:

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Mount and Blade yet.

That game/series features some of the best melee combat around, with a proper physics system behind it to calculate weapon momentum and everything.

I personally wouldn't mention a game I've never played, and find those that do, hypocrites :^)

Called out a few on here about games they've 'apparently' played and give false information. Not gonna give out names, but better to be honest, than a lying scrub.

So. . What is Mount and Blade? An RPG, Slasher, or a hunting simulator?

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#18 Posted by Planeforger (18103 posts) -

@RSM-HQ: It's a little difficult to define.

It's basically an action RPG with quests and XP and so on, but you lead large armies around the world map as if it was a strategy game.

When you attack other armies on the world map, the game becomes a third person action game. You control your own individual soldier on the battlefield, often with 50-100 people (or much more) fighting around you.

But yeah, the melee combat is the star. You can swing and block in various directions, there are a lot of weapons to choose from, and your speed is a factor (so...for example, charging at someone with a lance has a lot more impact than retreating while swinging an axe).

Anyway, it's great stuff. I put 71 hours into Mount and Blade Warband, but I could easily see people putting 200+ hours into it.

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#19 Posted by mirgamer (2489 posts) -

Mount & Blade is absolutely stellar, not just in the melee combat (which is FANTASTIC) but in the open world design and blend in of RPG, strategy, mass 3rd person combat etc etc

Then you have multiple MASSIVE mods that change the entire game and brought forth a whole boatloads of new features...and just, holy crap. Game is really amazing.

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#20 Edited by RSM-HQ (8602 posts) -

@Planeforger@mirgamer: Thanks for the information. Just looked into the games and based on Steam reviews Warband is considered the favorite of Mount and Blade games. I've always been a fan of the brutish Vikings so the Viking Conquest expansion has my interest. Might look into this in the future :)

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#21 Edited by mrbojangles25 (44352 posts) -

@RSM-HQ said:
@Planeforger said:

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Mount and Blade yet.

That game/series features some of the best melee combat around, with a proper physics system behind it to calculate weapon momentum and everything.

I personally wouldn't mention a game I've never played, and find those that do, hypocrites :^)

Called out a few on here about games they've 'apparently' played and give false information. Not gonna give out names, but better to be honest, than a lying scrub.

So. . What is Mount and Blade? An RPG, Slasher, or a hunting simulator?

It's, ummm....how to describe? A warlord simulator? Basically you start your character off with some stat building (and this continues, there's a pretty good RPG system in place) and wander around in feudal times and recruit, pillage, fight, make money, rescue damsels. You can lead dozens of fighters of various types (archers, cavalry, etc) and seek out local lords, do deeds for villages, and so forth. You play the game both from a tactical map of the local lands (kind of like in a JRPG, you and your party wander around in a sped-up time) then you fight in third person views.

Combat is very tactical, you can ride horses and shoot bows, but aiming is difficult. You need to time your swings with swords, all weapons (even, especially) melee weapons have range, swing times, and so forth so you might think the high damage and range of a polearm is great, but if you mess up you've left yourself open to attack

It's a really, really, really good game with a lot of longevity to it, especially if you are a history buff. The immersion is pretty great as it does a good job putting you into the boots of someone from fuedal times. There was no real story that I know of, so it's really up to the player to develop their own tale :D

Don't let the technical shortcomings (specifically visuals, animations) deter you, it's a very fun and rewarding game.

In the same vein, but strictly action-oriented and multiplayer-focused, is Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It is bone-crushing and gut-stabbingly brutal, portrays weapons really well (not that'd I'd know what it's like to swing a warhammer, but whatever...), and so on. It is pretty strategic, the people that just mash buttons end up losing really badly and the people that pace themselves, time their attacks, parry and dodge and such while waiting for an opening...those are the guys that win.

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#22 Posted by Byshop (19602 posts) -

When I think of good melee combat, I tend to think more of the hand to hand FPS games. Zeno Clash is a good example, as is the old Xbox game Breakdown.

-Byshop

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#23 Edited by sukraj (27859 posts) -

Dying Light

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#24 Posted by RSM-HQ (8602 posts) -

@mrbojangles25: Grabbed it on the Summer sale but thanks for the in-depth lowdown, it reads pretty awesome. So I gotta try it now :)

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#25 Edited by Doozie78 (1123 posts) -

DOOM is perfect example, it has very satisfying combat. Divinity: Original Sin also has great combat (for an RPG).

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#27 Edited by multiplat (1692 posts) -

What about Darksiders franchise?

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#28 Posted by turtlethetaffer (18793 posts) -

Hotline Miami instantly leapt to mind, although that's more because of the hyper gore and stylization. For mechanics, the Souls games, Bayonetta, Condemned: criminal Origins, and Viewtiful Joe all have superb melee combat.

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#29 Posted by narlymech (1680 posts) -

I havn't played any of these.

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#30 Posted by foxhound_fox (98033 posts) -

DmC: Devil May Cry

I'm one of the few people in the world that not only likes the game but prefers it to the others in the series. It may not have as much depth, but "satisfying" pretty much defines my experience with the combat.

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#32 Posted by abhaybilthare (1 posts) -

All of you should play god hand(ps2) game.

And try to beat the game in normal or hard difficulty.

I have played DMC devil may cry , devil may cry series, metal gear rising , remember me, but god hand is the best game I have ever played

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#33 Edited by RSM-HQ (8602 posts) -

@abhaybilthare: Why are you reviving really old threads? Also God Hand. . . Wasn't that great to be honest, and I think the dedicated fans really overrate the game. Which brings me to-

The reminder this thread gave, grabbing Mount and Blade months back is a good reason I avoid taking Forum suggestions. Did not care for the game, and thought its combat was very underwhelming when fans rate it with such high regard. But I'm guessing the game has its qualities somewhere or it wouldn't have a fanbase. But combat quality isn't one of them.

It has a lot of options but more doesn't mean better, and this game is a great factor to that statement. The quality of the combat mechanics lack impact, feels floaty, and lack any real depth. I do not recommend it for anyone who thought it was anything but a low budget war simulator. That's what it is, not a deeply layered and interesting combatic masterpiece. It's not even in competition to a ton of the games mentioned here. Best thing M&B has going for it is a ton of knights on the screen. Think Dynasty Warriors with climbable castles and you get the idea.

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#34 Posted by Khazrak134 (165 posts) -

Bloodborne absolutely is the top one for me.

Nioh is pretty good too

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#35 Posted by sukraj (27859 posts) -

shadow warior

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#36 Posted by PutASpongeOn (4897 posts) -

Nioh, Yakuza series (once you get past the phase where you button mash), Nier Automata, Killer is Dead, Crawl, Bloodborne, Guilty Gear series, MGS Rising Revengeance, Condemned: Criminal Origins, Blade and Soul, Chivalry, Nidhogg,

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#37 Posted by darktruth007 (821 posts) -

Witcher 2 and 3

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#38 Posted by deactivated-5acfa3a8bc51d (7914 posts) -

Dragon Dogma had unique combat being able to climb giant enemies for greater hits.

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#39 Posted by deactivated-5c56012aaa167 (2538 posts) -

No one has mentioned this game:

Indiana jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

it has a great Hand To Hand Combat. This game is much better than that Overrated Tomb Raider 2013.

@RSM-HQ said:

@abhaybilthare: Why are you reviving really old threads? Also God Hand. . . Wasn't that great to be honest, and I think the dedicated fans really overrate the game.

No God Hand is one of the best 3D beat'em up game that i have ever played.

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#40 Posted by pyro1245 (5238 posts) -

Nioh

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#41 Posted by Litchie (24303 posts) -

Anyone remember Dark Messiah of Might and Magic? Probably the best melee in an FPS game I've ever experienced. Pretty crappy game, though..

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#42 Edited by RSM-HQ (8602 posts) -

@dorog1995 said:

No one has mentioned this game:

Indiana jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

it has a great Hand To Hand Combat. This game is much better than that Overrated Tomb Raider 2013.

@RSM-HQ said:

@abhaybilthare: Why are you reviving really old threads? Also God Hand. . . Wasn't that great to be honest, and I think the dedicated fans really overrate the game.

No God Hand is one of the best 3D beat'em up game that i have ever played.

Considering you don't get many 3D Beat Em' Ups that's not really a great achievement. Only games in the same genre that come to mind are the Yakuza series and well that's pretty much it. . . Most 3D BE'Us are terrible. That's why 3D slashers got more attention, and have far superior combat systems.

@playmynutz said:

Dragon Dogma had unique combat being able to climb giant enemies for greater hits.

Good to see another who played Dragon's Dogma, great combat mechanics in that Gem. Hopefully we'll get a Dragon's Dogma 2 soon.

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#43 Edited by ChrisAnetkaC (632 posts) -

@Litchie said:

Anyone remember Dark Messiah of Might and Magic? Probably the best melee in an FPS game I've ever experienced. Pretty crappy game, though..

I remember all the great excitement and expectations surrounding it while it was in development. I thought it was bad and never finished it. I found the combat system to be interesting at first but then very limited and inadequate, and ultimately one of the reasons I stopped playing it.

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#44 Edited by gamerguru100 (12717 posts) -

Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Witcher 3, and Dishonored 1 & 2

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#45 Posted by Ovirew (9119 posts) -

Well, it doesn't exactly fit what the OP is looking for, but one of the things that stood out to me about the game Drakengard was how different each weapon you obtained felt. The game had a bunch of weapons you could find and equip Caim with, and they would all start off pretty weak, but as they gained levels from use and kills, they developed their own 'weight' and 'speed', and all ended up feeling different and useful in their own ways.

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#46 Posted by HushBlush (72 posts) -

@judaspete i also tried playing Bayonetta too, never finished it ahaha. guess its too difficult for me >.< but i love the graphics, its combat and combo skills.. an awesome game!

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#47 Posted by Totentanz (14 posts) -

Dynasty Warriors has the splooshiest melee every time

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#48 Edited by rangsimato (1 posts) -

Blade of darkness is the #1 for me... it´s known as the father of dark souls. if you can stand Old graphics and stick to gameplay and combat.you will love it.

till this day i haven´t seen a game with such perfect Combat mechanics and nothing like it´s Ai mechanics a swell. and i keep asking my self why no one is able to make combat mechanics like the ones in blade of darkness. it was one of the first meele combat games with PvP . and the tournaments where funny,intense and addictive as ******k. 17 years and i still install that game every year i reset my pc or get a new one. And there are still BOD multiplayer tournaments till this day. (that´s how good it was).

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#49 Posted by ruthaford_jive (518 posts) -

If you have a PC try Mount and Blade: Warband, though I think it's for Xbox and PS now. It's kinda clunky, and I hated it at first because the graphics are shit, but the melee combat is some of the best around. Very satisfying. Also try Star Wars: Outcast or Academy. Best light saber combat.

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#50 Edited by DerpaDerp (59 posts) -

Dark Souls is one of the satisfying melee combat for me. second of my list was tekken 6(if it counts), proper combo execution is one of the topnotch cheese for me.

Darksiders too would do for me in close combat. Along with that, I have God Of War and Onimusha :D yeah. pretty much about it.