Ninja Gaiden, closely followed by Batman and God of War/DMC
Watching Ryan struggle through Dante's Inferno just reminded me why I love Batman: Arkham Asylum so much. Personally, I find Batman's freeflow system to be the best implementation of melee combat in a game yet. There is a whole list of reasons why I prefer punching dudes with fists rather than impaling them with scythes, chains or other assorted weapons. But the first and foremost reason why Batman kicks ass is because he is quick and precise with every single move he makes. He responds immediately to any input you give him and unlike most other games I've played, he transitions perfectly from a full face punch to a spinning kick to a counter move and on and on. If you're good enough, Batman won't stop until everyone in the room is down and he will do it all in a single combo.
The game also gives you enough tools and queues to make it interesting and engaging at all times. Even my previous favorite, DMC3, felt monotonous at times but I never felt like I was doing the same thing in Batman (even though technically I was!). The context sensitive nature of the animations make the same basic combos satisfying to watch again and again. The dynamic, cinematic camera angles just amplify the effect that you're watching a well choreographed movie in progress. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some thugs to take care of.
I really liked the combat in Kingdom Hearts. Progression of your combat moves ramped up nicely as you went through the game and the magic system was well integrated. They even got their underwater fighting to not suck so much.
Kingdom Hearts 2 got a little too easy and over the top for my taste though.
I enjoy a slow paced tactical fighting system. Something where you aren't mashing combinations and using split second timing to kill dudes, but something where you need to know how to react to enemy motions and take advantage of openings. Say what you will about the game Viking(it wasn't great) but the fighting in it worked really well for what it was. It is more about defending yourself and then when the enemy shows an opening attacking and not getting greedy. Assassin's Creed was okay... but like Prince of Persia the instant kill stuff is a little bit wonky. However of the choices there Batman was great, I'd like to see more games use a system like that.
OH actually just thought of a game that had a really good one nobody will think of The Mark of Kri that game on PS2! That had a brilliant fighting system! Oh... I forgot all about that game.
While Batman's was amazing and really empowered you and made things fun...
Nothing touches what Team Ninja did in Ninja Gaiden Black, goddamn was that game good. When someone asks me why I liked Black so much all I can say is..."FUCKING SHIT IZUNA DROPS!!! UTs???!!! FLYING SWALLOW!? DRAGON TEAR"
*whispers* That's because Zelda's combat kinda totally sucks.
" Poll fails, no Mount & Blade or Zelda choices. "
And even in Zelda games where it doesn't totally suck(A Link to the Past being the prime example), it's not especially good.
I haven't played Batman yet (I know... I know...), but for me it's got to be Oni. The game is old and I may be remembering it as better than it actually was, but I loved it at the time. It had gunplay, but the combat focus was on melee moves inspired by wrestling and martial arts.
In a straight up action game my choice is Bayonetta. awesome ridiculous timing, dodging, Witch Time!, and some pretty cool weapons and upgrades too that adds a ton of depth. Plus that awesome downward dive kick that covers so much ground.
But in a game that tries to be more, where the combat is important but just a piece of a much larger game - Sleepy Dogs! Crazy dynamic environmental stuff and some really great moves.
Batman is pretty good too. I'm not a fan of the enemy-to-enemy teleporty animation blends. I think it works in a Batman game though because Batman is supposed to look completely badass. plus the combat gadgets are great.
I'm gonna have to go with Bayonetta... well, that, or Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Both are fucking amazing, just in different ways.
Muramasa, lol. What was I thinking? I mean, it's relatively entertaining, but up there with Bayonetta?
Replace Muramasa with God Hand and my old post still holds though.
I'm going to say the melee in Assassin's Creed games, I've always had great control taking on a group of enemies and every single time is exciting as the first.
You mean hitting counter for an instant kill as the enemies come forward 1 by 1?
Horses for courses...
Bayonetta. It makes any other fast-paced action game, things like Devil May Cry and such, absolutely obsolete. It's a joy to play, responsive, blindingly quick and tense, using Dodge-offset to finish intricate combos against hordes of enemies... when you ramp it up to Nonstop Infinite Climax, especially, it's a marvel.
I also enjoy the Arkham combat, but it's a slower pace, and to me entirely different than something like Bayonetta. They can't be compared. Also I agree with the statement above that it hardly feels like fighting, and I don't enjoy that at all.
Personally I wouldn't give such high praise to the Arkham style, found it always ended up the same way of the first 5 seconds are fun and interesting but then it's just attack whoever is getting up from the ground until all enemies are defeated. I'd say my favourite is either DMC3 because of the challenge and huge variety in play styles, or possibly DmC because while it is easier I found that the incredibly easy and quick weapon switching made for some lengthy and cool combos.
Excluding character action games I would put Sleeping Dogs up there because it made the Arkham style combat better in my opinion by making Wei Shen much closer to the enemies in terms of power level, also some of those environment finishers are fucking brutal. PoP 2008 is also up there for me, overall it was kind of average but I love the idea of having one on one battles, it just makes the game seem much more realistic. Dead Island also has a place on my list because of how good it felt to bash zombies skulls in, shame the game turned into crap after the first hour and a half.
I dunno why people liked Batman´s ... is so completely apalling and deadbeat , its loved by reviwers because it lacks skill is just button smashing , just ugh no.
For me its Demon´s / Dark Souls .. it hass impact , a good feel of weigth etc. and a huge variety too.
Wonder how this thread got revived? Anyways, I would have to say either Ninja Giaden or Bayonetta. Ninja Gaiden is just insanely deep and responsive. Plus it is so difficult that it makes you use every inch of skill you have to beat it. I feel like a lot of games these days have depth but don't require that you use it, at least on the default difficulty. I am playing Metal Gear Rising right now and it had never taken me more than two tries to beat any fight until 2/3 or more of the way through the game, which is just insane. Bayonetta is interesting because it is insanely deep and fast but there are just so many different controls to memorize I often found myself not using a certain move just because I couldn't keep track of the dozens of different powers I had. Eventually I just stopped buying new moves entirely because I just couldn't keep track of them all anymore.
Batman is very simple. It feels great and works flawlessly, but there isn't much depth to it. Of that more modern style combat it is by far the best (compared to the likes of Sleeping Dogs or Assassin's Creed). Sleeping Dogs I don't like as much because enemies take forever to go down, and Assassin's Creed focuses too much on countering until the third or fourth game, but the new additions were never really integrated into the main system so I felt like I never used half the items and weapons because I coudn't be bothered going through a weapon wheel every other enemy.
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