WB has a good problem on their hands. They have the best action melee combat system on market. Spider-man comes close, but it’s movement based rather than physical.
If you’ve ever played a Batman game, you know what I mean. Rarely are fights ever 1:1, instead it’s Batman vs 5-10 different goons, with different abilities. At easier difficulty levels, you can just use your fists and generally get through. Harder difficulties really do turn you into a walking swiss army knife of combat options. You’re shooting batarangs, rope pulls, stuns, air attacks, flash bombs and a slew of other options. While there’s an ideal path for each enemy type, odds are you surrounded by multiple and just creating your own dance of death.
Even goons with guns can be taken down with the right tools. The last game in the series went a bit overboard on that, as you can’t really take out an entire squad of armed foes with your hands. Still, the model works and it’s extremely fulfilling.
Shadow of Mordor takes this up another notch, what with the possession skill. Most fights are against 20+ enemies, and it’s really not possible to take them all down without turning the odds in your favor. You end up just dodging all over the place, like you’re high on sugar pops. Still taking down an army, effectively solo, is a heck of a feeling. Throw in a boss (or 3) and it’s a great endorphin rush.
Which brings me to Mad Max. Early fights start off with 3-5 goons. Then you get people who run at you. Then some with shields. Then some with weapons. Then PILES of enemies at once. There’s a gradual increase of difficulty as you go through, and in nearly all cases, it is predicated on your use of the Parry and Dodge buttons. Parry yellow, Dodge red. You can “move cancel” almost everything but a killer blow (ironically), so that makes for some stream of combat. But there’s really no movement involved here – you just wait for people to attack, and hope they are near a wall for what is the only “invincible” takedown that doesn’t require a consumable.
You don’t really get more tools (shiv, shotgun), but you do get some interesting skills to help offset the enemies. You can reverse parry an attack, using the enemy’s weapon against them. You can break shields. You can quickly execute. Almost all of them require you to play defensively.
It’s an interesting twist, and one that has some merit. The Dark Souls model of opportunistic attacks is certainly sound. Mad Max uses a different toolkit to push that concept, and for the most part, it works.