Melee is one of the gameplay mechanics for bringing down law enforcement enemies in close range.
Melee is performed by using the attack key, and causes the character to strike with whatever weapon is equipped in the character's melee weapon slot. If the strike connects, it will cause damage and make an associated noise.
In stealth, a melee strike will instantly take out any unalerted security guard or gang member regardless of their health. It will immediately alert a civilian and, if struck while alerted, will act as a shout, forcing them to the ground. Striking a civilian multiple times too quickly will kill them, however.
All weapons except the Weapon Butt can be "charged" to deal extra damage with greater knockdown chance. Charging takes time, and additional damage and knockdown is dealt as the length of the charge increases in most cases. A player can hold a charge to utilize the Counter-Strike skill against melee assailants.
For a comparison table with each melee weapon stats, view the respective weapon category.
All melee weapons have a listed knockdown value on their item card. Charging an attack will cause the knockdown value to increase. The greater the knockdown value, the greater the chance that the law enforcer will stumble and recoil from the attack, delaying further offensive action. Knockdown can be increased by the skill Martial Arts.
Melee weapons have a hidden variable related to attack speed. For instance, the Weapon Butt has an attack rate of 1.6 attacks per second, while the Ding Dong Breaching Tool has only 1 attack per second. This affects overall damage per second (DPS) when striking without charging, but also affects how quickly a player can charge a second attack after an initial strike.
The charge time is the amount of time it takes for the melee weapon to reach maximum damage and knockback.
All melee weapons have a listed concealment value that contributes to a player's detection risk. A higher concealment value results in a lower detection risk, which makes it more difficult for guards to detect the player. Concealment can be increased by the skill Inner Pockets.