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First Person Melee Games: Why do these games use 1st person instead of 3rd person?


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#1 emark.mark20   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:26 PM

Since playing Halo: Combat Evolved, I found that melee combat in FPS games can bring in a lot of adrenaline rush. Depending on the game, I would mix things up by trying to shoot enemies as well as using melee attacks. However, the best of First Person Melee in my view came from games like Dead Island, Chronicles of Riddick, Red Steel 2, Zeno Clash, Condemed , and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion/Skyrim (However, it has a 3rd person camera mode). All of these downplay shooting and focus on melee combat as the star of the gameplay like Assasins Creed and God Of War does.

My question is, why do these melee combat games use the 1st person camera? I know that melee combat is easier in 3rd person since you can see enemies behind your player avatar as well. The first person camera is great for shooting and exploring to some extent but if shooting is downplayed, what is the point? Do you think the games l mentioned would be great in 3rd person as well?

Any comments reguarding this will be appreciated. Thanks

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#2 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:47 PM

It's always the "in your face" action, "it's like being there", tension, and/or the different perspective that FPS Melee games bring. It brings something to the game that a 3rd person view can't.
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#3 Casey Hardman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2251

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:19 PM

I think it has to do with immersion and feeling more involved in the combat. As you said, first-person view means you have to turn to look behind you, whereas you can tell if something is coming from behind in the third-person view. Thus, first-person view provides an "in the moment" feeling, like you're the hero, not the commander of the hero.

Imagine games like Modern Warfare 3 in third-person view: it would make it easier to see people without endangering yourself. Third-person games usually allow the player to approach a corner and then turn their camera to view what's past the corner without putting themselves in danger, which I'm sure would be something FPS players would constantly use to check for enemies (those dirty campers!) before rounding a corner.

In my opinion, more tactic-based combat might benefit from third-person cameras, because you'll have an easier time telling where your enemies are, if you're close enough to hit them, etc.
Also, third-person and overhead views allow for area target spells and such, like you'll see in DotA 2 and League of Legends, where you can place specific effects here and there on the field, like calling down a rain of fire or a circle of vines that slow enemies down, and other such effects.

First-person games don't have an easy time with this kind of stuff. They're more for feeling in the moment and immersed, in my opinion, because you can't always see what's happening around your character. If you want a player to explore a world and you don't have a deep combat system in place, then it might be a better idea to go for first-person. If the player's positioning matters and they have to throw out a bunch of spells in different positions, then they'll want to have more control over this, and be able to see the battlefield from a third-person/overhead view.

For example, in Fallout 3, I played in first-person because I spent a lot of time exploring the world and when I fought, I basically just shot people a lot until they died (and deeply enjoyed the ways in which they exploded). I didn't have to decide which enemy I had to drain mana from, and which one would be best to use my frost spells on.

However, when I play DotA, I have to know where my enemies and allies are and I have to be able to place my spells in the right places, or use them on the right people (though one of my biggest problems is casting on nearby creeps instead of enemy players...)


Hopefully this helps!

#4 BagelHero   Members   -  Reputation: 1482

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:47 PM

I have never been a fan of first person games where your weapons are mainly Melee. They always felt sort of... wrong. Like I was spreading butter on my opponent or something-- particularly in Oblivion for that example. It's difficult to judge distance and such. Third person games usually let you chain combos and autodetect distance for counterattacks and stuff, which is much more fluid.

...Which, in turn, is why the Melee side of things in Dishonored works so well. That's a first person game where I almost exclusively played using the melee weapon as my offensive. A stealth game, maybe, but it plays pretty damn well in open conflict as well. I'd suggest having a look at that for some BETTER ideas to why first person melee can be a good idea.

As for the games you mentioned, Skyrim and Oblivion do have third person options. I am of the opinion they are sub-optimal. But y'know, whatever plays best is sort of relative. They were mostly built for first person and as such seem... dodgy at best in third.

I personally find first person a tad more immersive, especially in "blank slate" games, where your actions define the character. For instance, Assassins creed would be weird as heck in first person because you'd keep having to come out of it for cutscenes. They're very character centric games! Halo, though, has an almost silent protag. No particular personality quirks and no face. They want YOU to feel like the hero.

There are usually reasons teams choose the perspective they do.

Whoa, sorry if I babbled there.

#5 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8005

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:57 AM

Looking at the games of the last years I wonder if the reason to use 1st/3rd person perspective in an action/shooter game is not more mundane. I think that is it less of a game design decision and more of a visual one.

If you use a 3rd person perspective you see the player and have the option to show off all the nice animations for some special attacks, climbing, taking a look at the breathtaking environment, it feels better on consoles etc. , on the other hand, a first person perspective is not in need of most of these, making it cheaper to produce.

Here're some modern games and similar older games:
Assassins Creed (3rd) vs Thief (1st)
GoW (3rd) vs Doom (1st)
Deadspace(3rd) vs SystemShock(1st)

#6 richardjdare   Members   -  Reputation: 331

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

I imagine that many developers choose to create a first person game first, then later decide that it will have melee combat. I prefer third person myself. It gives you a better awareness of your position relative to your opponent; you can be much more analytical about how you play, and you get to watch yourself perform cool moves while you do them. There is a visual performance aspect to it.

First person melee combat feels much more clumsy and desperate in comparison. (Of course, this may be what the designer wants). You can only see in front of you, and invariably the worst control method is used (pushing down on the analog stick is difficult when you are trying to move at the same time) In older shooters it was always a weapon of last resort, to use when you were out of ammo or suddenly ambushed at close range.

I do think things are improving. Combat in Dishonored was good though I was always more inclined towards stealth.

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#7 emark.mark20   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:08 AM

It's always the "in your face" action, "it's like being there", tension, and/or the different perspective that FPS Melee games bring. It brings something to the game that a 3rd person view can't.


think it has to do with immersion and feeling more involved in the combat. As you said, first-person view means you have to turn to look behind you, whereas you can tell if something is coming from behind in the third-person view. Thus, first-person view provides an "in the moment" feeling, like you're the hero, not the commander of the hero.


Looking at the games of the last years I wonder if the reason to use 1st/3rd person perspective in an action/shooter game is not more mundane. I think that is it less of a game design decision and more of a visual one.


So these developers focus on first person melee use first person cameras because its for the looks and immersion? Interesting, it's no wonder I have become fascinated with these games. With me, the combat in these games felt so brutal up close although I won't be seeing my character do it (Unless you count the arms and legs on screen). Still, I must admit that melee combat looks cool in 3rd person as well and the assassinations in Halo reach and 4 look great in 3rd person.

...Which, in turn, is why the Melee side of things in Dishonored works so well. That's a first person game where I almost exclusively played using the melee weapon as my offensive. A stealth game, maybe, but it plays pretty damn well in open conflict as well. I'd suggest having a look at that for some BETTER ideas to why first person melee can be a good idea.

I do think things are improving. Combat in Dishonored was good though I was always more inclined towards stealth.


That's pretty cool that Dishonored uses melee so well in 1st person. I found it interesting that Arkane studios made the game first person when mostly all it's actions are done in 3rd person in other games traditionally. I guess they want to be different. I have to check the game out.

#8 All Names Taken   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:32 AM

I've been watching a couple of videos of dishonored but mostly the combat seems to focus around cool powers with the odd stabbing of people rather than full on melee. Still have to look into it personally I think.




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