I think a cool way to make melee more useful and more common is to have specials and base them around “escaping” (like when you’re cornered)
Make them something you can perform when hold a gun (or anything really, so this doesn’t effect actual melee fighting with melee weapons, that can still be the old school way)
They each have their own advantages (player can only choose one?)
My ideas are:
Hit with gun (or item in hand(s) - the fastest attack animation and attack speed (rof) but only stuns/knocks back the zombie you hit. Useful in tight spaces and for stealth, uses little stamina.
Shoulder barge - you need to be running to shoulder barge, knocks down every zombie you hit in a frontal cone (or just collision based maybe), uses all your stamina, so requires good timing and could be detrimental in tight spaces, make alot of noise.
Leg sweep - knocks down every zombie immediately around the player, uses 50 stamina, moderate noise, moderate speed, can’t be preformed whilst running, acts as a halfway between “hit with objects” and “shoulder barge”.
Slip - this one is pure stealth, when a zombie agro’s onto you and gets close you can “slip” which basically ducking past the zombie leaving him looking around for you for a sec or two, useless against tight groups of turned, it’s for the stealth buffs, it punishes them for failing stealth as they can’t mix slip with leg sweep for example, they can only have one.
P.s sorry for horrible formatting and comma spam.
P.s.p.s they’re called “turned” I know, can’t be bothered to edit.