Friday, October 7, 2011

Top 5: Brutal Melee Combat in Games

Ever since we've been able to hold an object in our hands, it has been our compulsion to hit stuff with said object.  As we grew up and started playing video games, that has meant bashing zombie skulls, braining drug addicts, and sometimes punching a horse to death.  Here we celebrate the Top 5 games with the most brutal melee combat.  Read on as we explore man's compulsion to beat the life out of things in games!

5. Left 4 Dead 2

When Left 4 Dead originally released in 2008, one of the biggest omissions was melee combat.  You mean to tell me that there are dozens of zombies here for me to kill, but I don't have a bat/crowbar/surfboard with which to beat the shit out of them?  Thankfully, this was rectified a year later when Left 4 Dead 2 was released.  The sequel brought with it a whole host of changes, the most notable being the addition of melee weapons.  Finally, you could live out your Zombie Survival Guide fantasies and dispatch zombies with all manner of hand weapons.  Crowbars, fire axes, baseball bats, even guitars could now be used to murder zombies with reckless abandon.  Oh, and there's chainsaws too.....

4. Fallout 3


While you can play through all of Fallout 3 and never once have to kill anything with a melee weapon, the game is much more satisfying if you take up a bat or sledgehammer and bash some fools!  Granted, the melee combat on its own isn't very interesting, as it has you simply swinging your weapon of choice until your enemy goes down.  However, once you start using VATS, the melee becomes about a million times more rewarding.  Your hits are now in ultra slow mo, and you can hear bones breaking as you slam a hammer into the chest of your foe.

3. Dark Messiah: Might and Magic  


When it was released in 2006, Dark Messiah didn't make much of a splash and got some very mixed reviews.  One of the game's greatest strengths, though, was the intense melee combat.  The game used a simple to learn, hard to master system comprised of basic moves such as attacking, blocking, and countering.  However, things get much more interesting when you start using your kick move.  This one move allows you to really spice up a fight.  At its simplest, the kick will give you a bit of breathing room; look around at your environment, though, and you'll see all sorts of possibilities.  See a staircase? Kick a dude and he'll sail down it!  Fire?  Kick a foe in and watch them burn!  The options are many and varied, including kicking enemies off cliffs, into spiked walls, and even kicking out support structures to drop debris on your adversary!

2. Dead Island 


Another game where you beat zombies to death?  Yes, dear friends, but with a twist or two.  First of all, damage is location-based, meaning that you hit a zombie in the arm, you could break it.  Or cut it off.  Unlike like Left 4 Dead 2, where melee is little more than an interesting option, in Dead Island hand-to-hand is the primary method of zombie extermination.  This is made more interesting by the fact that there are literally dozens of different weapons to find, upgrade, and modify.  That's right! Modify!  Like that hammer you've got?  Why not upgrade it with an electricity mod that sends enemies flying?  How about combining a few items to get a Ripper, basically a baseball bat with a motorized saw blade?  If any of that sounded even remotely exciting, Dead Island deserves a lookie-loo!

1. Condemned: Criminal Origins 


Condemned became renowned for two things- excellent crime scene investigation and brutal-as-hell melee combat.  This game, like, Dark Messiah, has a somewhat simple system that focuses on timing blocks and counters to bring your enemies down.  Like Dead Island, melee is the primary means for mashing dudes up, and it certainly satisfies!  Almost all of the weapons are pulled right from the environment itself, meaning that you can grab a pipe from a shelf or a rusting piece of re-bar from a wall.  There's never a shortage of weapons to be found, but they all do the same thing- beat the piss out of fools!  More than any other game on this list, the combat in this game will have you cringing at the damage you do.  The enemies react realistically to hits, and they definitely provide a challenge when they hit back!  Attention to detail abounds- look at the video above, notice anything?  You hit guys so hard, they actually lose teeth!  Truly, melee combat has never been so excellent as it is here!

Rock needs to get to the hardware store 
and pick up a crowbar......

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