Failbetter Games have just put out a fresh update for Sunless Skies to improve many parts of the combat. Their main aim, is to make the combat feel more satisfying as well as improved AI behaviours.
The first major change, is that AI enemies will have "Tells", essentially they've added sounds and animations to enemies so that you know when they're about to actually attack you. There's also a new Aura Attacks ability, which give off an area of effect. An example they showed off is the "Scrive-Spinster scream attack" that will add "Terror" to anything inside it:
Some locomotives also now have turrets, there's new ramming behaviours so you know when an enemy is actually about to ram you as they will come to a stop, then rapidly speed towards you.
Another useful addition, is that enemies will actually now be aware of your headlight. So if you turn it off, you might be able to get right up close to them for a surprise attack. Although, your rate of "Terror" will increase due to the darkness.
As a reminder, the game is still in Early Access and so not everything is final. Even so, these changes sound like it makes for a much more interesting experience when playing the game.