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From what I've been through so far, the hand-to-hand fights in Uncharted 3 seem to be pretty random and a lot of button mashing. It seems to be a lot of to punch, and the occasional Δ to counter, and sometimes randomly mashing to struggle and throw.

Is there a consistent technique to taking down enemies faster? I know that if you can sneak up on someone, you can take them down quickly. And occasionally, some of the fights seem scripted if you're close to an object that you will smash someone into. But for the normal fights, are there moves, or combinations of moves that you can do to take the enemy down quicker?

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Note: I may have the buttons listed wrong here for fighting, but hopefully you get the idea. This is the first time I've used my PS3 consistently since I played Uncharted 2. – Doozer Blake Nov 10 '11 at 13:30
Square button instead of o but otherwise spot on. – aslum Nov 10 '11 at 16:24
Most of the cases, especially later in the game, you're basically wanting for a counter or getting out of a stranglehold (triangle or circle), then you have a small opening for punching, rinse and repeat until the drop. Sadly it get's pretty repetitive near the end – Ivo Flipse Nov 12 '11 at 12:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As you've gathered, the basic melee combo is pretty weak. Drake will do more damaging combos if you swing at an enemy close to a wall, a drop or an object that Drake can use as a weapon. The trick is getting an enemy close to the wall; thankfully, you have a handy grab move for that: press circle and hold down the direction on the left stick you want Drake to try and fling them.

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I haven't picked up 3 yet, but in the first two Steel Fist is shoot-then-immediately-punch (the "Steel Fist" being that you're pistol-whipping them) – Shinrai Nov 10 '11 at 15:35

You can use the grab move that Merus mentioned (press circle and point with the left stick) to push/throw enemies off ledges, if there is one nearby. Even relatively small drops result in the enemy staying down.

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I used to have a similar problem when I was trying to beat the game on Crushing. The melee combos take too long and I often end up dying. But, I've figured out a way to "stealth kill" ( snap their neck) while I'm in front of them. It might take some getting used to, but just run up to them, run to the right ( Nate's Right ) and quickly flip your movement stick counter-clockwise while pressing square two to three times. If done correctly, Drake will either glitch onto the enemy's back, or the enemy will turn around.

Very Rarely, Nate will do the Snap-Neck Animation, and the enemy will do the Getting-Snapped animation, but he and Drake will be on opposite sides.

It works if you run to the left and flip the movement stick clockwise.

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