What do you think of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare?
It’s a proof of concept. That melee combat works and can be interesting or even unique in the first person.
I first heard of it when trailers were made for the standalone version demonstrating how swords are actually tracked in the engine, and how facing direction affected where the sword was.
A few years ago I picked it up for myself in a sale and was lucky enough to get a huge group of people to play with me, including Allosaurus Rex, Ryan Perez, Devi Ever, Mark Ceb, and some other people from GYP.
At first I didn’t really get what the fundamentals were, I was just swinging and more often than not I got butchered. The sword swings are all slow. You have 3 types, one that slashes across (most area coverage and active time), one overhead (most damage, weird hit angle), and one thrust (most range, least active time and area coverage). You can cancel a swing as a feint before it becomes active. Blocking with a weapon is time specific, but the swings are so slow you can usually time it fairly well. Shields let you block as long as you want, but they block your vision. Kicking pushes people around, and deals a ton of stamina damage and no recoil on shield. Almost all actions require stamina.
The obvious things I picked up were to either swing first to catch them before they caught you, or to wait their swing out and hit them while they were recovering. Or of course block and catch them during the stun inflicted on them. Kick acts sort of as a poor man’s throw option, much like Dark Souls, as do stamina limits in general. So to succeed, I found I needed to read when they were going to swing, and do it first,
Beyond that, I found feinting would fuck up people’s attempts to guard, so I would start a swing, feint, they’d time their guard for when I’d swing, but when the guard let up, I was coming in with another attack. People in shields couldn’t see what I was doing, and they would block in similar patterns. Of course the counter to someone feinting is just to swing at them, because you get a massive time advantage.
At other times, I would swing deliberately early, but in a position where they couldn’t punish it, just barely missing them, so that when they did try to punish, I would be able to punish them for trying.
Another trick is turning myself so I’d hit opponents with my sword sooner, then turning the camera the opposite way the sword was going to keep it pointed at them as long as possible, making the active time effectively longer. You could even slash around people’s guards, over their head, at their feet, etc. Turning helped hit people sooner for a bigger advantage on pre-empting their swings. Turning could give thrusts a wider area of coverage, and help overhanded swings hit over people’s blocks.
The different weapons swing at different speeds, so you’d need to swing sooner to beat out a faster weapon, or could afford to swing later if yours was faster. Archers with knives could get in close and fuck your shit up by continuing to interrupt your attacks if you weren’t careful.
Overall, it’s not the most complex system, but it’s unique.