Attack animations are awful for fighting from a formation

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When the melee lines meet, the AI attacks like they're in a drunken stupor getting constantly blocked by their mates to their side. It makes something which should be one of the coolest aspects of the game into an ugly, embarrassing mess to watch. Also, when I inevitably want to join the shieldwall as my player character, the fighting is no fun as all my shots except overhead swings are blocked by my own troops. Fine if i'm using an axe or mace (if still a little boring), but what's the point of that short sword or dagger I've been carrying for the very purpose of close-quarters fighting if the stab animation is constantly blocked somehow by the guy to my right who shoudn't be in the way.

Having one attack angle for thrusting sucks too and really weakens any swords optimised for thrusting.

I suggest the implementation of an attack modifier key which, when held, will use different attack animations/angles from the standard horizontal and vertical directions - animations which better lend themselves to fighting in tight spaces.

For example, attacking as normal performs the standard attacks. However, holding the Alt key while attacking from above would perform an overhand stab (like the spear thrust) instead of an overhead chop. Alt + down should do a small thrust without the ridiculous hip level wind up, reducing unwanted blocking from friendly bodies nearby. Alt + the left/right keys should do a quick diagonal slash which originates from above the head, instead of over the shoulder. I'm also in favour of giving cutting swords (e.g. paramerions) an upward slash animation to make up for the lack of the fourth standard attack angle.

Balance-wise, I could see the attacks being less powerful (due to the lack of wind up) and quick to retract upon blocking (better for probing for weak spots in the enemy shieldwall). The diagonal slashes would also likely still be blocked by an overhead block from the larger shields, but could strike arms against smaller shields and weapon-only blocking. Even with slashing/cutting only weapons, having the modifier will give two alternative 'light' attacks to give them more tools in on-foot melee. It would also provide a little more distinction between swords and axes/maces, as the sword will be more versatile with four light, probing attacks available. Perhaps 2H axes and maces, as heavy objects with the weight distributed forwards, the player is restricted to the regular 4 attacks, giving a trade off for their high damage with something other than swing speed. Spears could follow the opposite direction to slashing weapons, the Alt modifier only working for underarm and overarm thrusts, but granting a a quicker 'light' attack which would help tremendously when trying to keep back advancing enemies or probing at their lines.

I don't think a few new animations and an key modifier is a large amount of work to add in (although getting the AI to use it properly might prove difficult), and this could improve the on-foot melee experience enough to make me actually want to play a different fighting style than 'mounted god of war swooping down on those unfortunate enough to be caught outside a formation'...
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