It’s surprising that no “stylish action” games (Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, etc.) has utilised a mechanic akin to the gravity gun of Half-Life 2 fame.
There’s always debris and assorted objects around either in the ruined environments or left over from the combat. It could add to combo meters and help make the battles even more fluid and stylish. And the extra demands of physics engines aren’t unreasonable for games like that.
For the sake of example, let’s take Nero (Photoshopped above) from Devil May Cry 4. Nero has a demonic arm known as the Devil Bringer. Bear with me on this.
Using the Devil Bringer usually involves the appearance of a larger spectral version of the arm. The spectral arm can stretch, offering long range capability. This allows Nero to grab enemies from afar and to use the arm like a grappling hook. So, Nero is perfect for picking up random objects to hurl at enemies.
Now how it would work needs to be considered. It could be exactly like the gravity gun and suddenly switch to first person mode. But that might be a little jarring, and Devil May Cry likes its fixed camera angles. So, instead, it could just be a crosshair used to select what you want to pick up, as well as the enemy you want to throw it at.
So as not to break up the timing, the game would go into very slow motion, Modern Warfare style, whenever you activate the gravity-gun-style mechanic. Naturally, getting hit by an enemy would cancel you out of this. This would all need to be balanced perfectly to give players just enough time to select their makeshift weapon and the enemy they want to hit with it.
One drawback is the likelihood of it slowing down the gameplay too much. In a series based around constant slashing and perfect reflexes, slowing down and giving the player time to breathe mid-combo might just be a little too out of sync with their design. Although it might work in real time with an automatic lock-on based on simple directional controls, similar to aiming Dante’s guns in Devil May Cry 3.
Whether it would fit with that particular series or not, it’s just surprising not to see that kind of idea attempted in a modern action game. I think it could be pretty fun.