Well, I am finding the combat system quite immersive and as I get more and more used to it lots of fun.
It has the feel of historical fencing. I get to apply the same tactics and techniques with only minor modification:
- Understanding distance (melee range of you and the opponent) and how it changes with different weapon length is an asset. Once you know the distances, you can sit just out of distance (what George Silver called 'wide distance'), from which you can launch attacks because each attack includes the footwork that moves you into distance. At wide distance you also have decent time to see the opponent's attack and parry, or better yet step away ('dodge') just out of distance and then counter-attack!
- Attacking in true times (that is presenting a threat as you come into distance so you can attack in safety as your opponent has to parry or die) works because the physics system tracks your sword's position and will cause it to collide with and stop an ill-advised and last minute counter-attack by your opponent.
- There is also no unrealistic anti-spam mechanic like say in Witcher 3 in which after a few attacks the enemy gets an automatic counter. Instead the system uses stamina, a more realistic limitation.
- It is worthwhile studying your opponent's guard and changing yours accordingly because different attack directions seem to work better or worse against different guards.
As for the first person animations, I think they are functional and convey the information needed. In a real fight you barely see your hands, arms or even the sword. You feel where they are instead. Of course you don't have a sense of touch in a video game so the first person animations are a necessary compromise.
The combat system just needs a few tweaks (better lethality and faster recharging stamina, please), some bugs squashed and maybe some additions (I like the idea of finishing moves).