At the moment, most people can commonly agree that melee combat in games is not what it could be.
I've played my fair share of melee combat games ranging from Dynasty Warriors to Oblivion, frankly I've only played one game that had a combat system that felt like it worked on a scale of realism.
I'm coming from the standpoint of a seasoned veteran of martial arts and military background, and games are really just hack and slashes - though are getting better and better as we master and insert more and more motion cap into games.
Regardless, awesome looking melee between two characters is usually two preset motions cap animations that are set in space, and each character can't move out of that space. Meaning it's linear and has no freedom of movement. You could have something like AC or AC2 with their 'X to kill' system, though that makes the game a fully functional line up and die method or people who have a good finger. Then you have complete freedom which turns into Oblivion where the player moves around like they have helium balloons attached to their feet.
None of these essentially harness the true aspects of combat. Looking for ideas here that incorporate thinking systems that render movements based on rules (much like Ai does). Combat really involves, stability, footwork, and speed.
It's for this reason that I'm baffled as to why games haven't leapt on the Euphoria middleware that's present in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and GTA4. The system that blends together purpose-based animation (like mo-cap) and reactive-based animation (like ragdoll physics.) The similar to A.I. algorithms set in the middleware decides what parts of the body will be controlled by a preset animation and what parts will react to the environment.
I think I remember seeing a tech demo video where a character that was shot while ascending stairs reacted realistically to both the environment and as a animated dying human would. Euphoria detected that the entity was shot from the front and required a death animation pushing him backwards. It detected the force and gravity physics and found that the entity was placed on stairs which is considered and uneven surface. Ragdoll physics were initiated on the legs while a "grabbing for the hand rail" animation was placed on the torso.
A system that uses this for melee combat would be good, the physics would run only on body parts hit with enough force from the attacker, While smooth motion capture animation would run for actions initiated by the player. All the while the game knows what environment the characters are present in and can adjust placement and movements of limbs accordingly.
i would love to see something like that in games but our controlers are so prehistoric there needs to be more emphasis on virtual reality motion control i know the wii has something close to it but would be nice to have a suit or something that you can wear and do the motions for would need a difficulty setting for those that are not as active