What are the best first-person melee games?

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BisonHero

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In the recent Cyberpunk 2077 Quick Look, Jeff G didn’t have a lot of positives things to say about the melee in the game, liking the damage that melee weapons do but disliking that there isn’t good feedback on whether melee hits are connecting on him or not. I do think the hits look kinda weak, but I think the melee hits always look kinda weak in Fallout/Skyrim while your character sprints around enemies at 20 km/h.

I think the big distinction that comes to mind for me is that most third person games with melee combat almost universally enforce the rule of “your character plants their feet and stops moving while in a melee swing/stab animation”; imagine how strange Zelda or Bloodborne or Hades would look if you were sidestepping around while swinging a sword. Conversely, there seems to be a near-universal expectation in first person games that you can keep circle strafing around during nearly any player action, but I think this has always made melee feel weird and look weird in first person. The middle ground seems to be when CoD and other shooters lock you in place to do a quick execution animation if you successfully kill a guy with melee.

So I put it to you: what are the first-person games with notably good melee combat?

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VectortheAngel

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Dead Island had excellent first person melee if you turned on the directional attacks.

Zeno Clash has excellent brawling and the whole game really needs to be experienced to be believed.

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PeezMachine

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#3  Edited By PeezMachine

There's something I really like about the heft of the 2-handed axes in Skyrim. Ditto most 2-handers in Vermintide 2. I need to duck back into Shadow Warrior 2 to confirm, but I recall having a pretty good time with a sword in Shadow Warrior 2 -- it doesn't hurt that it also has some limited ranged options to add some versatility.

Edit: Oh how could I forget the majesty of the analog combat mode in Dead Island?

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NexivSelecaf

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Elderborn, given my very limited experience and interest in games like Zeno Clash where the gameplay revolves around first-person melee.

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cikame

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I'm sure lots of people are about to say Condemned or the sequel and i tend to agree, i only played the 2nd one and it was very good.

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CrsadrNoRemorse

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Man, Escape from Butcher Bay! Anytime someone mentions Riddick or first-person melee I get a serious itch to play that game again. The melee is so good, it's actually a bit disappointing when gunplay becomes more important.

Such a good game, if a bit overstaying its welcome towards the third act.

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Justin258

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That's like the one thing Dead Island did right. Also, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

Frankly, I like Skyrim's melee. Fine, it's not perfect, but I think smacking someone with a big fuck-off hammer is still entertaining.

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brian_

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I thought the sword combat in that Shadow Warrior reboot was pretty good.

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Shindig

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Mordhau. That Chivalry game as well.

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thesquarepear

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#10  Edited By thesquarepear

I'm partial to Mount & Blade: Warband

Nothing quite like riding around as a "knight" spearing that petty AI infantry with my lance. The whole momentum-based damage was pretty cool.

I should probably install the sequel but it's still in early access so I'm not in a rush.

EDIT: I miss the analog combat in first Dead Island as well. Dying Light was ok but maybe just marginally better than Condemned. Crowbar in HL2 and piano wire in Hitman are classics but not because they are particularly engaging.

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CreepingDeath0

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I have a special place in my heart for Red Steel 2.

The Shadow Warrior reboot is great too, as others have already said. Chivalry, Dark Messiah and Mount and Blade all deserve a mention too.

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beard_of_zeus

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#12  Edited By beard_of_zeus

Folks mentioned a lot of the ones I would have said. I personally have a fondness for Maken X, even if its combat is not as mechanically dense as these other games. You do get to possess (sorry, "brainjack") different people over the course of the game that fight pretty differently though; there's one character you can get that has 6 arms, that's pretty trippy in first-person.

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Deathstriker

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#13  Edited By Deathstriker

Vermintide 2 is the only first-person melee centric game that has great combat. I'm excited for Dark Tide next year since Fatshark is making that too.

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MrBGone

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#14  Edited By MrBGone

Left4dead has melee that is enjoyable. I think melee in first person could benefit from less focus on realism and just go for blood and guts braindead style.

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ShaggE

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Do VR games count, or is that cheating? Because brother, lemme tell you about Superhot VR...

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TheFlamingo352

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I enjoyed Dying Light's melee--especially that big, dumb drop kick--to extend other people mentioning Dead Island.

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The_Nubster

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It has an extremely rough start and a terrible, horrible end but there is a sweet spot about 3/4 of the way through where Breakdown becomes an intensely satisfying, ridiculously-deep FPS brawler where you are basically a Super Saiyan. Someone else mentioned Zeno Clash which is a more refined version, but there is a soft spot in my heart for Breakdown.

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Mezmero

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Seems like people have given all the best answers already. I'd just concur with mentions of Condemned and Dying Light. Could Dishonored qualify here? The melee fighting's decent enough I guess though I think most would agree the crazy powers are what make that game shine.

@the_nubster: I was itching to bring up Breakdown for this topic. I've never played it but I recall people being impressed by its commitment to the first person view. Glad someone was able to speak to it.

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beard_of_zeus

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@mezmero: @the_nubster: Haha, I was also thinking about mentioning Breakdown, but I honestly don't remember if it is actually good or not? It definitely has the best first-person vomiting.

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OurSin_360

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#21  Edited By OurSin_360

Condemned 1 and 2, Shadow warrior 1 and 2(the newer ones), and yeah vermintide was pretty good(I only played the first one though).

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Rejizzle

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Xenoclash games are pretty cool. Red Steel 2 was dope with a heavy emphasis on sword combat. Have a soft spot for Maken X on Dreamcast.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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I'll give Dead Island the nod over Dying Light because the skill trees and optional directional combat set it apart. Dying Light had the better movement in general though.

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Efesell

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Dying Light is a better game but once you got used to the analog melee in Dead Island it was so satisfying.

Dark Messiah has that kick though..

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cstrang

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Condemned 2 will always have a place in my heart.

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flatblack

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The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Good luck finding a legit way to play it these days though.

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MrBGone

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@shagge: Yeah, superhot VR is probably the right answer.

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BladeOfCreation

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I was gonna say that there are no first-person games that do melee combat well, with the caveat that I don't like games with first-person melee enough to play many of them (and I play Skyrim with a bow or magic). Some people have said Vermintide does it well, and I agree with that. For the most part though, first person melee never feels good.

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ItHas2BeSaidKVO

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@vectortheangel: Zeno Clash 1 and 2 were some damn fun FPmeleeing, although it would 100% be a lie if I said I didn’t cheese the games at every available opportunity by abusing the guns and just wrecking fools.

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pnpkp

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Mirror's Edge Catalyst may be no Zeno Clash but there's a sense of momentum and oomph that I really like even to the basic attacks that aren't jumping off a roof and using someone's face as a landing pad. Still the best face kicking I've seen for sure. And the plasticky crunching noise when you crack a visor in particular is super satisfying. A whole lot of opportunities to knock folks over railings too. And make them bumble into each other comically.

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crcruz3

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I think the Zeno Clash games have the best melee combat I have experienced in video games.

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damodar

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Condemned and Riddick are the top of my list. I mostly loathed the actual playing it part of Zeno Clash.

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superslidetail

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Dying Light and both Condemned games are top on my list.

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Alias

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@cikame: Yeah I was going to say Condemned. Shadow Warrior 2 was fun (it was a fast soupy mess but I enjoyed the time I spent with it.

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isomeri

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Riddick and Condemned.

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Gundato

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#37  Edited By Gundato

@shindig: Maybe be careful platforming Mordhau since the dev team has some REALLY nasty views on people of color and women and platformed a LOT of racism and anti-semitism on their forums before finally, months after no-actioning said hate speech (even in topic titles on the front page), got rid of them.

-----

And to actually be on topic: I'll probably put my vote in for Dying Light but Riddick and Condemned were good. Both (modern) Shadow Warriors have pretty decent melee but you are really going to be using a gun or human plus sword beams for most of that.

But I'll add on Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal as honorable mentions. Obviously the melee is rudimentary and the combat is ranged focused but the combat loop is very much meant for you to get a LOT of glory kills and blood punches in a way that feels like you are going full gun kata on people.

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bybeach

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I'm not much of a melee fan, but @brian_ and @alias did say Shadow Warrior 2, which I immensely enjoyed the combat of.

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SarcasticMudcrab

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#39  Edited By SarcasticMudcrab

I don't know if this counts but Saints and Sinners in VR is by far the best first person melee I've ever experienced, it's brutal!

The feeling of holding and swinging a weapon is a serious achievment.

As for 2d well very subjective here but running around bonking people as a scout in tf2 defo my fave melee, half the fun of that was purely due to the fact that I hated snipers in that game and they were an easy target...man I miss pre-hats tf2.

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Giant_Gamer

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Condemned is a great mele first person game.

Too bad we didn't get a new installment.

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Kevinhfry

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Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, while a flawed experience overall, had some tremendous first person swordplay.

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Gundato

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@kevinhfry: If you liked DMMM, you will probably like Elderborn a lot. Incredibly obnoxious trappings on what seems like a generic roguelite/run-based game (if someone told me this was a sequel to the game where you had a whip and stepped on first person spikes constantly, I would believe them). Except it is actually a Soulslike (haven't found any bosses but bounced off fast)

Combat is fun and I like how each weapon is just different enough to be both situational and stylistic. And you have The Dark Messiah's kick (but not the weird skeevy companion). And it does the thing where you get bonuses for completing weapon specific challenges that sometimes teach you how to use a weapon but mostly are just tedious. But the level design just kicked me out because there are too many one way doors and the biomes don't have enough of a logical progression for me to lock the map in my head.

One day when I get bored enough I might try again. But I would love it if they just got rid of the soulslike and made this a purely run based game.

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sandm0rph22

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@crcruz3: I remember those games lol. Man it was wierd, I don't remember much but I do recall my two fists punching stuff.