To me, it seems that HLM2 melee combat is a little unreliable, or at least A LOT tighter than it used to be in the original game. I find myself losing quite a bit in melee vs melee situations even with Tony-like characters. Does anyone have any tips on how to manage melee combat?
The easiest way if you want to play a melee-only playstyle is to bait the enemy.
2 ways to bait enemies:
Line of sight - If enemies "see you" in their field of vision, they will rush from their location to the spot where they last saw you. This gives you ample time to prepare for them to rush in so you can melee them
Gunfire - Fire a gun close to enemies and they will exit out of their patrolling spots to check on the noise of the weapon (will ping from where you fired it). Working the same way like LOS, you can now easily anticipate where they will be coming from in order to take them down.
Unfortunately, there is no way to truly play the game melee only with the default characters unless you play as Tony, I believe, as he is the only character that can kill, with melee, both brutes (heavy NPCs) and the regular mafiosos. Also, using Tony will restrict you from using guns or melee weappons whatsoever, so you'll need to rely on LOS.