Close quarter combat

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Sentinel, May 19, 2018.

  1. Sentinel

    Sentinel First time out of the vault

    May 5, 2018
    Having recently replayed Fallout 1 I could not fail to notice that the game offers gear designed for Unarmed/Melee builds: Power Fist, Super Sledge, Ripper. One might think that only high tech ranged weapons make sense in sci-fi settings and yet CCQ is portrayed in many sci-fi works, for example:
    - WarHammer 40k: chainsword, thunder hammers
    - System Shock: laser rapier (arguably the best weapon in the first game) and crystal shard
    - Doom: chainsaw
    - Star Wars: lightsabers
    - Star Trek: Klingon and their bat'leth
    - Neuromancer: Case buys a melee weapon named "Cobra" instead of a gun
    - Dune: bladed weapons used for combat instead of guns. In this case this is actually explained: personal forcefields stop any fast moving physical objects (presumably including bullets) and cause atomic explosions when hit by laser weapons.

    Given the fact that melee weapons have been made obsolete centuries ago in real world, why do you think they are portrayed as a viable option in sci-fi settings?
  2. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Alpharius oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    Melee weapons have never been made obsolete - and probably never will be. While firearms may be the standard and main form of weaponry pretty much everywhere today, I doubt you will ever see a soldier in a field without a knife holstered somewhere.

    Real world melee weapons have many utilities that firearms cannot provide - they can be easily concealed and used for stealth, can be used for various non-combat functions, don't require ammunition, they are fairly cheap and easier to maintain and you can make a makeshift bladed weapon far easier than you could make a gun.
    And in the end, it's always best that you have an alternative for your firearm.

    But that's real world.

    As far SF goes, in various of the settings you mentioned melee weapons need to be looked from meta-narrative and meta-gameplay aspect. Melee weapons are often added for diversity and for the simple "cool" factor - battle axe in WH40k isn't really the most practical weapon to have on the field where soldiers carry plasma guns, but it looks cool and given the ridiculousness of the setting, it's fine. It also meant that in tabletop game you could have soldiers in the back shooting, and soldiers on the front line butchering the enemies, which makes the game more diverse and fun.

    DOOM, Fallout and many other games offer melee weaponry because they either wanted to have something else than just shooting (in DOOM, using chainsaw is fun - running into demons with a chainsaw is arguably far more ridiculous and insane than *just* shooting them, but it is fun), or for the sake of build's diversity (in Fallout it would be pretty dumb to make a melee build where you can only use fists and brass knuckle when in late game you encounter deathclaws and soldiers in power-armor - this would make melee builds nonviable for most of the game, rendering the character creation choices far more limited and breaking the game - however, having a power first balances this situation).

    Dune and Star Wars have a narrative explanation for their weaponry - you've listed one for Dune yourself, and in SW lightsabers are this dangerous, ornament weaponry that can properly be used by the select few Force users, which is in itself a pretty huge deal. Lightsabers are not only superb weapons at melee combat, but also serve as a symbol of power and respect, a sort of marking of a social status. But as we know neither Jedi or Sith rely just on their lightsabers.
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  3. Sentinel

    Sentinel First time out of the vault

    May 5, 2018
    Indeed, soldiers carry combat knives, but these are supposed to be used as tools or for stealth killing, never as a primary weapon. "Bringing a knife to a gun fight" is a death sentence.
  4. Apollyon

    Apollyon It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 29, 2017
    Sci-fi settings often feature things like power armor which are capable of absorbing some small-arms fire. That might make super-charged melee weapons feasible again.
  5. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Emphasis on melee in certain SciFi settings has one major reason: Rule of Cool.
    Realistic space combat is actually boring, so writers add single seat fighter crafts and dogfighting despite it making no sense. Realistic ground warfare with drone strikes and combat robots and precision weaponry is boring, so we get hulking power armor dudes with chain swords and axes and shit, because it's frickin' awesome.
    So yeah, while Dune has an actual explanation for the prevalence of knife- and HtH combat in its universe (later actually not that much anymore in the books), the reason is not "Due to the interference of the Helmholtz effect with the Lasgun and the resulting pseudo-atomic explosion of both the lasgun and the shield we use shields and knives instead of lasgun" but more simply "I want a feudal society and people to really focus on honing physical skills and fight really fancy with knives. How can I prevent the Indiana-Jones-method of ending a sword fight?".
    Don't think too much about why and how melee makes sense. It doesn't. It's there to be cool and entertain, and in the case of gaming to make the game more diverse, as @Atomkilla said.
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  6. Immortalkickass

    Immortalkickass First time out of the vault

    Dec 4, 2015
    Lightsabers are different though, their ability to deflect blaster bolts makes them an equaliser against ranged weaponry. But you need to have the reflexes of a Jedi to do that, so its still useless in the hands of a non-Jedi.