What Makes a Good Combat System? - video-games-arcade.com

What Makes a Good Combat System?

Game Maker’s Toolkit
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One of my most requested video topics is combat systems. So let’s look at everything from Bayonetta and Yakuza, to Batman and God of War, to break down the essential elements of a good melee combat system.

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Further Reading / Viewing

Making a powerful punch sound from scratch | Marshall McGee

Action Game Analysis Playlist | Turbo Button

7 combat systems that every game designer should study | Gamasutra

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance)

Devil May Cry 4 (Capcom, 2008)
Golden Axe (Sega AM1, 1989)
Double Dragon (Technōs Japan, 1987)
Bayonetta 2 (PlatinumGames, 2014)
God of War (Santa Monica Studio, 2018)
For Honor (Ubisoft Montreal 2017)
Furi (The Game Bakers, 2016)
Dark Souls (From Software, 2011)
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening (Capcom, 2005)
Metal Gear Rising (PlatinumGames, 2013)
Nier: Automata (Platinum Games, 2017)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games, 2017)
Dark Souls III (From Software, 2016)
Yakuza 5 (Sega, 2012)
The Surge (Deck13 Interactive, 2017)
Yakuza 0 (Sega, 2017)
Monster Hunter: World (Capcom, 2018)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Mercury Steam, 2010)
Transformers: Devastation (Platinum Games, 2015)
Bloodborne (From Software, 2015)
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Monolith Productions, 2017)
Bayonetta (PlatinumGames, 2009)
Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, 2013)
Darksiders (Vigil Games, 2010)
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life (Sega, 2016)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (Rocksteady Studios, 2009)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Sora, 2014)
Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games, 2017)
Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios, 2015)
Tekken 7 (Bandai Namco, 2017)
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal, 2010)
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory, 2017)
Assassin’s Creed II (Ubisoft Montreal, 2009)
Metroid: Samus Returns (MercurySteam and Nintendo, 2017)
Nioh (Team Ninja, 2017)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)
Shank (Klei Entertainment, 2010)
The King of Fighters XIV (SNK, 2016)
Punch-Out!! (Next Level Games, 2009)
Lords of the Fallen (Deck13 Interactive and CI Games, 2014)
Resident Evil 6 (Capcom, 2012)
God of War III (Santa Monica Studio, 2010)
God Hand (Clover Studio, 2006)

Music used in this episode

Sayonara (Blue Wednesday)
We’ll Figure it Out Together (Lee Rosevere)
Waiting For the Moment That Never Comes (Lee Rosevere)
Southside (Lee Rosevere)
Sayonara (Blue Wednesday)
k. Part 2 – 01 untitled 1 (animeistrash)

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147 Comments

  1. using Gow4 for the thumbnail really didn't age well huh.

  2. "What you don't want to do is make an enemy that can only be killed by a specific attack"

    Remembering Rufus Shinra in FF7R

  3. As soon as he started about parrying becoming overpowered as a parried three silver knights on a row, by siegmeyer. Lol

  4. Mount & Blade has the best combat system imho

  5. I hadn't come out yet but jedi fallen order does this amazing

  6. 17:04 waiting for analysis on Sekiro's combat
    I find it to be the literal best in my experience

  7. Im making this game and i have a really cool atack where u use the mouse to swing a certain direction to hit or parry and strong attacks deal damage and stun foes but slow and you cant move while hitting while fast makes you have to risk if u just try hitting them they could parry and attack you and while doing it you wont be abble to parry but you can move so like the emeny does a slow heavy swing you can hit it while runing forrward then slashing here guts

  8. Castlevania is my favorite game forever😭
    Devil May Cry 4 at other times

  9. Imagine an attack that takes 7000years to charge

  10. Would love to see a video of this but about melee fighting in VR

  11. I honestly love AC Origins' combat system. It doesn't play like a button masher and timing is deliberate.

  12. I know this is an individual opinion, but thats the main reason I hated the previous God of Wars games, Batman and whatevers and probably would hate this Bayoneta one wich I never played. Game should be about fun, obviously, but just hitting random buttons while walking around discovering some plot (even when they are awesome) just feels like Im wasting my time. Thats why I played all Soulsborne a zillion times and was in love with Ghost of Tsushima. These are the games (and also indie games that are not like those but are still perfect, like Hollow Knight) that really have everything wich makes a game great and someone who doesnt have a lot of free time spend it happily. Btw your videos are awesome, thank you for the content.

  13. Sekiro really feel like peak combat system after watching this

  14. There's this game that I think is pretty good with making parry less valuable. It's Ronin: The Last Samurai. When you parry, you don't actually deal damage to enemies, but you just deal damage to their stun meter, when the stun meter is full, your enemy will be stun and you can land continuous critical hit

  15. This video should be Titled 'Good Melee Combat systems'

  16. The combat system in Lego games are definitely S tier

  17. People have to decide between blocking and rolling in Dark Souls? Just spam that dodge baby. Half the time I don't even use a shield

  18. Very sad that prince of persia warrior within isnt in here

  19. I'm so used to the soulsborne combat mechanics, that it puts me off from other games. I wanted to play though the witcher games and the beginning section of the second game made me lose interest completely. I was in a combo of attacks against an enemy, and while I was in the middle of my second attack (slashing through my foe), he just started swinging at me like he wasn't even hit. My hits felt so unimpactful that I couldn't take the combat seriously.

  20. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (first person) shows exactly what makes a good combat system- flexibility, control, great rag doll and animation feedback to attacks- and cancelable power attacks that can be held ready while freely moving arround(unlike skyrim/elderborn etc). A glitch allows for the instant block animation to replace the animations for assuming the various power strike angles- allowing you to quickly counter attacking after blocking, and allso swifly switching attack angles by each 'block click' as you dance arround the appoonents.

    Got a video of it uploaded, and the game is dirt cheap on Steam

  21. Good video, but I am kinda surprised that monster hunter is not mentioned here. MH probably has one of the best combat system in gaming, just look at the how active the MH speedrun community is.

  22. Assassin's Creed's old combat system is so bad that it's good. It made me always take the stealthy path because the fights were terribly boring

  23. Ninja gaiden black and ninja gaiden 2 have beautiful combat systems. It's hard for an average gamer though

  24. you showing gow2018 has already shown how little of an idea about game design you have

  25. Ultra Age gets combat absolutely perfect. My favorite game these days!

  26. What about kingdome Come Deliverance ? Super hard but rewarding combat system !

  27. I like the mention of Nioh. However ninjustu allows higher DPS than pretty much anything else, allows you to be at a very safe distance, and costs zero stamina and is so fast that you have plenty of time to react to enemies. I love the game regardless of the exploit

  28. I like that when he says AR he shows a SMG lol

  29. Good editing but much more importantly, good content. Subscribed brother. Thank you for the time invested in this.

  30. tokyo xanadu makes me wanna jump off a cliff for its lack of animation cancel

  31. Old video, but I just wanted to say for me it's a few major points, Engagement, Ingenuity, and How it feels. That last one is a bit subjective but you get where I'm coming from lol.

  32. This video makes me appreciate just how dynamic Super Smash Bros is as a fighting game. It's got quick moves, highly useful but not OP shielding and blocking, but most importantly, health being directly related to how far you get launched, which makes you consider the environment and what direction you're fighting in.

  33. All I want in my melee combat is what I called "controlled variety." I can't stand the one-combo-animation type of systems, such as Metal Gear Solid and similar, though that isn't a melee-based game. Another would actually be Dragon Age's action combat system. Special attacks with limited use don't count, because you can't use them often anyway, so it's possible to get to a point where you're spamming that one mage animation combo.

    If combat is limited to one button, borrow from Devil May Cry with button holds or dely inputs. You can do combo videos in DMC with only that one button and the lock on, especially with command inputs, mainly forward, backward, and back-forward.

  34. What is the song in the first minute of this video?

  35. Batman on hard difficulty is actually very good, I finished all games in hard mode only… its normal is too easy

  36. Personally my opinion on stunlocking is that it should ideally be prevented organically with careful game design. By using in-engine limitations to prevent long combos through pure frame data (possibly with the addition of a system where stagger time slowly decreases with successive hits), you avoid making the player feel cheated out of whatever cool thing they were doing.

  37. The moment this video started with dmc4, I knew it was gonna speak facts

  38. I feel like the shadow of war mostly mastered the combat system. You counter an enemy they go down (after you get an ability) and then you can kill them but that's an animation during that time another orc can try to kill you and interrupt your animation for the kill. After you get a certain number of hits on an enemy you can perform an execution which instantly kills a normal orc while dealing a lot of damage to captains and war chiefs and and the number of skills and options you have provide unlimited amounts of creativity and the amount of fun there is in countering an enemy is amazing and if you can time it properly you can kill them. And I only mentioned a minor amounts of skills and details. It a very underrated game and it got flamed for having micro transactions when big games have them everyone acts like it is normal yes it is normal for EA. everything you can get in the micro transactions you can get in the game too. The game Didn't deserve that much hate for how much effort was put into it

  39. I personally hate parries I feel like they are bad game design because whenever I parry it never works so I have beaten all 3 dark souls games without parrying, only time I parried was the crest fallen adventurer.

  40. A lot of great points in this video. For me personally another important aspect is a somewhat restrictive healing system. Healing should either be restricted to specific locations, take some time to perform, and/or be limited in the number of uses. In my opinion BOTW combat becomes a bit boring after you figure out how to cook meals that heal you completely and you can instantly heal after getting hit.

  41. I think Sekiro's combat system is quite genius. Your defence becomes your attack in that game.

  42. The treble on your mic is ear-piercing. 👎

  43. sekiro combat hella fun, the posture breaking system is pretty good

  44. The lack of dragons dogma combat in this video is beyond disappointing

  45. I really expected Sekiro to show up at some point in this video, until I checked the date :p

  46. I was playing scarlet nexus and trying to figure out why it just wasn't a good combat system, and I think I can summarize that games whole combat system with one sentence.

    It looks good, but it doesn't feel good.

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