When you pick up a sword in a video game, you can slash or stab enemies with it but that's usually about it. This trope is about games that additionally allow you to switch between distinct and mutually exclusive move sets (modes) as befits the current tactical situation.
One typical dichotomy is between a "Strong" mode, which encompasses slow armor-piercing attacks
and is best used against strong standalone enemies
, and a "Fast" mode, which consists of an array of quick jabs
, best employed when facing multiple weak but fast enemies
. Other modes can be added as necessary, for example, a defensive one to provide extra protection or one particularly well suited against large groups.
- Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast features three styles of lightsaber combat for Kyle Katarn to master: Fast, Medium, and Strong, which are pretty much what their names suggest (e.g. the "Strong" style features the Darth Vader-esque slow but extremely powerful strikes). Jedi Academy additionally supplements them with Dual Wielding and the saberstaff styles.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords implements all seven lightsaber combat forms, which act as modal modifiers to various stats (such as attack rolls and defense values) when activated. The Exile starts the game with the basic Shii-Cho form and learns two more on her own and the remaining four from the surviving Jedi Masters throughout the game.
- The Witcher features three fighting styles, each specialized against a particular type of enemy: Strong against slow, armored opponents; Fast against agile enemies; and Group against multiple surrounding mooks. Using the wrong style spells death quickly: strong enemies shrug off Fast, fast enemies dodge Strong, and groups quickly stun-lock Geralt unless he uses Group. These styles can only be used with swords, which renders all other weapons in the game pretty useless.