Re: Please Rate this Article: Melee Combat in the Current Gen
I see; Assassin's Creed has a good camera too, but there's one part of the second game where you're in an area with a lot of trees, and the camera doesn't penetrate the leaves.
I think it's interesting how this whole conversation about melee combat has focused down onto the aspect of camera.
Of the list of games you describe as "half-hearted", the only one's I've played are 99 Nights and Force Unleashed. I don't know if "half-hearted" is the right way to describe those games, but they were definitely flawed.
99 Nights had really epic looking combat in which it was common to rack up 1,000 hit combos because you hit 50 enemies per attack. This was cool for a while, but it got old. The fact that the combat system really didn't seem to fit the situation during boss battles didn't help either. More importantly, the story wasn't good enough (I honestly can't remember what it was even though I beat the game) to reel you in.
This relates to what you said about the different elements of a game meshing together. The combat was epic in scale, but uncompelling from an immersion standpoint. I would have kept playing the game even after the fights got old if it had a good story, but the plot was completely forgettable, and the main character was an unrelatable, bloodthirsty mental patient.
Force Unleashed had an interesting story, but none of the characters were memorable except for the general, and the romance feels like it was stapled on at the last minute for shits and giggles.
The combat was by my standards, below average. Starkiller's melee attacks didn't hit dozens of enemies at once; his lightsaber was standard length. Unfortunately, the game has no qualms about filling the stages with dozens of enemies, some of which, like the dreaded snipers, can hit you from off-screen, all the way across the arena. The feeling it gave me was that there was way too much shit happening at one time.
I find myself falling back to Batman when I think about how one might improve Force Unleashed. In Batman, if you're relatively far from an enemy when you press the attack button, Batman will jump towards the enemy as he strikes. Since Force Unleash seems intent on making me fight 30 enemies at once and putting them all 10 feet away from each other, I feel like it would benefit to have a close in/semi-lock-on mechanic like this.
Speaking of locking on, Force Unleashed really needed separate lock buttons for enemies and objects because it was way to easy for the game to miss target. They could have replaced the dash button with the second lock, and made dash a double-tap on the control stick.
Anyways, back on your original point. Truly not every game needs a great melee combat system, but if everything else is mediocre or bad, then the game only deserves 6 hours of my time, which is what I devoted to 99 Nights and Force Unleashed.