In the Call of Duty series, the melee attack is a close-quarters attack with the player's knife, gun butt or hand that damages/kills the opponent.
Call of Duty - Call of Duty 3
Before Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, melee attacks consisted of pistol whips and smacks with the gun butt.
In Call of Duty and United Offensive, when all equipment had to be equipped, it was possible to melee with every piece of equipment, including grenades, smoke grenades, satchel charges, and binoculars. Melee damage for these other pieces of equipment had the same melee damage as a pistol (50), and as such were used only for humiliation kills. Melee damage from primary guns, on the other hand, was more substantial, and a melee hit to the head, body, or back was enough to kill. However, in practice, this was rarely achieved. For one, melee attacks had extremely short range (about 3 feet). In addition, melee attacks connected inconsistently, and when they did connect, they often connected on the shoulders or legs, where they would be negatively affected by multipliers. Because of these, melee attacks did not see much use.
Call of Duty 2 made several changes to melee damage. Because equipment was no longer selectable, it was no longer possible to melee with grenades or the like. Melee damage for all non-pistol weapons was made consistent (150 damage), making it fatal no matter where the melee hit connected. Connection was improved also, although this may have been due to the enlargement of player hitboxes in Call of Duty 2. Pistols still continued to do 50 damage. Because melee hits were now effectively instant kills, they could be utilized more often. However, melee attacks still had very short range and no lunge.
In Call of Duty 3, the player could melee attack with whatever weapons they had. As with other games, the melee attack would usually result in an instant kill. Sometimes, the attack would merely injure a soldier. Rarely, though, the attack would put an enemy into last stand. Call of Duty 3 also had scripted CQC battles with German soldiers. The player would wrestle for a gun and defeat the German either by knocking out the German with a melee attack or delivering a form of gruesome death, such as pulling the pin on a grenade hanging from the German's shirt, or throwing him headfirst off a balcony.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brought a sweeping change to the melee attack in the form of the knife. Every player had the same melee attack, a slash or stab with a knife capable of dealing an instant kill. In addition, the range was increased to 128 inches, as a slight lunge was created. When the melee button is clicked, depending on how close the enemy is to the attack is how the player will swing their knife. Closer enemies will be killed by the slash attack: standard but fast; this is how the knife is swung when the player is hitting nothing but air. When the enemy is at the edge of the maximum knifing range, the player will "lunge" at the enemy, "stabbing" him, but the knife must be dead center on the target in order for the hit to connect and kill the enemy, and there is also a slightly longer recovery from the lunge attack. The ability to sprint, use perks, and deal an instant kill melee while carrying around light weaponry allowed players to play entire games using only the knife. However, the knife's connection wasn't perfect, and usually missed fast moving players.
Call of Duty: World at War saw the proliferation of multiple melee weapons. The bayonet, which could be attached to the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, the M1897 Trench Gun and the bolt-action rifles (with the exception of PTRS-41), allowed for melee attacks at longer ranges of 200 inches. Additionally, the delay between the end of the knife slash and bringing the weapon back up was decreased. The Bowie Knife, available only on Der Riese, increases knife damage from 150 to 1150, allowing one-hit-kills against the zombies for the first 11 rounds (it would later be nerfed to only perform one-hit-kills up to and including round 9 in Call of Duty: Black Ops). In campaign, the player will occasionally be attacked by Banzai Chargers, sending them into a melee fight sequence. Zombies only use the melee attack with bare hands, and Hellhounds bite. In the solo campaign, if the player lets a banzai charger get to them, the player will be knocked down and they will have to press the melee button within a few moments of being knocked down to move the charger's bayonet out of the way. He will then stumble, allowing the player to pull out their knife and stab him in the neck. However, melee attacks seldom connected in this game, due to declining connection quality over the years. Most melee attack simply fail to hit.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 introduced a new knife model, with the same damage and increased range from Call of Duty 4. In World at War's spirit, though, it added another melee weapon, the Tactical Knife exclusive to Handguns, which allowed for faster melee speed and recovery. Modern Warfare 2 also featured several perks conducive to knife-only plays. Commando was the most infamous for increasing maximum melee range from 128 inches to 176 inches. The Riot Shield primary is also a melee weapon. In the campaign, cinematic techniques were introduced for the dramatic sequences of the game, such as stabbing the guard at the entrance of Site Hotel Bravo.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the knife returns once again. In campaign, there are several scripted, cinematic techniques the player can use to melee as well. They are: choking a guard with a garrote, hitting a guard with a rock, wielding unique weapons like the prison knife, SOG knife, and the karambit knife, stabbing guards in the neck and taking their uniforms, pushing an enemy off a guard house, slitting VC's throats as they sleep, stabbing enemy workers in the neck with a tomahawk, pulling an enemy down a ladder, and choking and drowning a person at the same time. A new secondary weapon called the Ballistic Knife is included in multiplayer, where the player holds their normal knife in their left hand and the Ballistic Knife in their right. This provides a faster knife lunge and recovery, as well as the ability to fire the blade itself from the handle for ranged one-hit-kills, but it requires a parabolic trajectory aiming to take targets at a distance. The Bowie Knife also returns from Call of Duty: World at War and is an available weapon in the Nazi Zombies maps Kino der Toten, "Five", Shangri-La, and Moon. Zombies only use their hands to attack. Hellhounds bite and claw the player. Crawler Zombies claw at the player. There is also a new melee weapon called the Sickle included in the Zombies maps Ascension and Call of the Dead.
Cinematic techniques return in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on certain occasions, such as slitting a Militia member's throat in "Back on the Grid" or choking and hanging Makarov at the end of the game. The tactical knife and riot shield returned in multiplayer. The Commando Perk was removed, but a Melee Weapon Proficiency was added to SMGs, Shotguns, and Riot Shield, decreasing melee time by 35%.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II brings new weapons to use for melee combat. Weapons such as machetes and swords can be used for the first time in the series. These can gib enemies. In Multiplayer, if there is no weapon selected in either the Primary or Secondary slots, a Combat knife will be given that has a much quicker melee speed, a movement speed 102% of the base speed, double the standard sprinting distance (2.5x with Extreme Conditioning) and even has its own Camouflage unlocks. The Tactical Knife returns for pistols. Zombies mode introduces a new melee weapon called the Galvaknuckles which are a one-hit-kill on zombies until round 14. Mob of the Dead also introduced a new melee Wonder Weapon, the Golden Spork, which could be used after the completion of an Easter Egg (during which the players can receive a silver spoon roughly as strong as the Galvaknuckles) The Golden Spork can one-hit-kill zombies up to round 34 with its astonishing 10,000 damage.
In Call of Duty: Ghosts, players can choose to not use a primary weapon to gain an extra point in their Create-A-Soldier loadout in order to get more Perks, which will then be replaced with the Combat Knife. Players spawning with the Combat Knife can sprint twice as long as a normal player equipped with a gun, at full speed (normal players can sprint for 4 seconds, players equipped only with the Combat Knife can sprint for 8; depending on how the player builds his loadout, this can be useful in reaching objectives faster in the first few seconds of a match). The melee duration and animation has changed compared to the Modern Warfare predecessors. When a melee knife attack successfully lands on an enemy, in the player's view it will look like the player is first grabbing the enemy with his left hand while thrusting the knife onto their body with their right, then pushes the enemy's "dead" body away after retracting their knife. The animation would last about two seconds; thus, the player is extremely vulnerable to another enemy's fire during the melee attack. Occasionally, but very rarely, when the player "panic knifes" an enemy that just ran into them in close-quarters, the very edge of the knife's swing could still hit the enemy and kill them without the full animation, like it does in previous titles. This is also the case when knifing while crouched or prone, or if there is a solid object between the player and the enemy. The Tactical Knife attachment for pistols will still decrease the time duration of a melee knife attack, but it is exactly the same as the Tactical Knife in previous titles; a quick stab from the knife held by the left hand below the pistol allows players to melee enemies and recover in less than a second. There is an operation called "Balls of Steel" with a patch resembling the Rambo character, players complete the operation and earn the patch by getting a number of kills with only the Combat Knife equipped. A patch later introduced two prestiege-exclusive weapons, one of them being a solid gold version of the standard knife, unlocked at prestiege 5. This knife acted identical to previous knives from past games; instead of the lengthy animation normally used in Ghosts, the golden knife swings like the old knives, allowing for much faster kills. However, there is less range while using this knife, as the thrusting animation with the knife is no longer used, requiring the player to choose if they want faster swing speed with the golden knife, or lunge with the regular knife.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the player doesn't use a knife like in previous titles; instead, the player punches the enemy with tremendous force, due to the power of the new Exoskeletons in multiplayer. Every hit is an instant kill on a regular enemy, who will be flung backwards from the impact. Knives are still available in the form of the Combat Knife and the Tactical Knife. In Exo Zombies, players will melee with knives if they do not have an Exo Suit on.
It is also possible to kill an enemy with a kick. The player must boost slam directly on top of or beside an enemy. The kill feed will show a boot icon, or a headshot if the attacker lands directly on an enemy's head.
Additionally, in the campaign mission "Captured", the player can melee by pistol whipping with the Atlas 45, the SN6 and the AMR9. However, these melee attacks aren't one-hit kill, unlike other melee weapons.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: WWII, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare differs from the guaranteed one-hit kill melee seen in the series since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The standard melee attack now consists of swinging the equipped weapon, similar to pre-Modern Warfare games. It takes two hits to kill an enemy at full health from the front. Attacks to the sides or rear will still kill in one hit. Unequipping a weapon slot will allow the players to use their Fists as a melee weapon, which always require two hits to kill a full-health enemy. Players may unlock the Combat Knife as a secondary weapon, which will always kill in one hit.
Within the Zombies mode for Black Ops III and Black Ops 4, the survivors retain the knife as their standard melee with various upgrades dependant on the map.
Spectre's Specialist Weapon, the Ripper, is a twin blade melee weapon that allows for one-hit kills with an extended lunge. A Gun Perk called Shredder is available on the Reaver - Machete, which allows a one hit kill melee.
In the Infinite Warfare's campaign, if a knife is on a suit upgrade, it will replace the standard melee attack with a knife, similar to Modern Warfare games.
In Modern Warfare's multiplayer modes, if the player is facing behind an enemy, they can perform a Finishing Move by holding down the melee button.
- In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, using the /give location_selector_mp console command in multiplayer will give the player an invisible weapon, but if the player switches to third person with the command /cg_thirdPerson 1, and they melee, the melee with not be with the knife, but will indeed be with the gun (which is an AK-47 from third person perspective). This suggests that the gun bash was still going to be used, but replaced with the concept of a knife very early in development.
- In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, through console commands the player can receive the Brick Blaster and by meleeing, the player can see it does not use a knife, but pistol whips instead.
- In all the Modern Warfare games, if one goes prone and melees, the animation in third person will show the player smacking with the gun, but in first person, the melee is done with the default knife.
- In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, using the USP .45 with Akimbo, the melee animation is the same as the melee charge animation, but faster due to the lower animation time.
- Despite the fact that the melee attack in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a punch, it is called Combat Knife in the KillCam.