Sifu is a brutal 3D fighting game that dissects revenge itself, with an engaging story to boot. The best part of this title is the way it generates tension through its cinematic gameplay and well-written dialogue.
Sifu is a brutal 3D brawler that dissects revenge itself. The game features a unique story, with a protagonist who has lost everything and must exact revenge on the people responsible for his loss.
Sloclap made a name for itself in 2017 with the martial arts-themed action RPG Absolver. Four years later, the business has released Sifu, a three-dimensional brawler using the same fabric but a completely new design. Sifu is a lot more concentrated, linear experience that emphasizes learning your craft: the game’s kung fu combat technique. It’s a lot of fun to play since every encounter is a fast-paced, dynamic battle for survival.
Sifu, as exciting as it is, can sometimes be pretty frustrating. The game doesn’t pull any punches; it has a dauntingly severe level that will almost surely ostracize those gamers who are just trying to whoop some virtual butt. If you can roll with the punches the game throws at you (figuratively and literally), you’ll discover a graphically spectacular, mechanically sound brawler with a wonderfully emotional retribution theme.
Combat is entertaining, but the inspirations are dubious.
Image courtesy of Sloclap
Sifu’s main attraction is its emphasis on hand-to-hand fighting. The combat style of the main character is largely influenced by kung fu, notably the Pak Mei style. Sifu is clearly influenced by the large-scale battle sequences popularized by Chinese movies when it comes to the game’s elements. In addition, the novel often considers Wude (a Chinese martial arts ethical system) and includes mystical themes and objects connected with Chinese culture, such as resurrection, magical talismans, and dragons.
The game clearly has a fascination with Chinese culture, or at least the aspects of it that are often shown in popular western media, but I’m not persuaded it respects the culture it is based on. The game was made by a firm that was largely made up of white people; according to reports, no one of Chinese heritage worked on it. When you consider the studio’s decision to send out press kits full of generic items you’d find at an American-owned gift shop in your local Chinatown, as well as the game’s Twitter account actively promoting the Lunar New Year, it’s clear that Sifu is more meant to appeal to western sensibilities of Chinese culture — large-scale fights, mystical elements, “fancy” tourist souvenirs — than deliver an authentic product made with Chinese materials.
It’s a pity, since Sifu’s fundamental gameplay is fairly strong even without its clichéd stylings. It takes a lot of practice and patience, just like any other real-world martial art. You can’t simply push a few buttons and expect to succeed. Every combat encounter becomes a dynamic puzzle with multiple continually shifting variables as a result. Is there a weapon in my opponent’s possession? Do they have a ledge nearby? Is there a bottle nearby that I could hurl at them? Answering these questions in real time is satisfying, and the game provides you with so many offensive possibilities that any one encounter might have an almost infinite variety of responses.
As you gain XP and acquire new talents, the complexity of Sifu’s fighting grows, and all of them feel like significant improvements to your moveset. These abilities may include anything from powerful special assaults to defensive techniques like counters. The majority of them are simple to use and can be smoothly integrated into your current combinations, letting you to explore with them without having to stray too far from your chosen playstyle.
The game really comes to life during the boss battles, which are all tough but fair skill tests. Furthermore, each of them need a distinct technique. The struggle against the burly Sean necessitates evasive moves, whilst the combat against The Leader requires frequent counterattacks and a more aggressive approach. When I initially saw each fight, I was irritated since these monsters are among the most difficult in the game. But when I finally triumphed, I felt a true feeling of accomplishment, as if I had just achieved some type of goal.
While I was inspired to keep retrying boss bouts until I was victorious, I can easily imagine a lot of players abandoning Sifu because to these devilishly tough confrontations. There are no customizable difficulty levels or modifiers in the game, thus the only way to advance is to “get gud” enough to beat each monster. I had a lot of pleasure progressively growing better as someone who enjoys challenging games like Dark Souls and Ninja Gaiden, but I have to say that Sifu doesn’t seem interested in serving people who simply want to experience it for its narrative or amazing sights.
While Sifu is challenging, it has have one major advantage: its controls are rather straightforward. Given how simple the combinations are, you won’t have to worry too much about messing them up. None of them need more than five inputs in total. Even if you botch up one of the assaults, the rest of the game’s attacks function nicely together. In my experience, my mis-inputs sometimes resulted in the unintentional discovery of a very efficient combination, which I would then strive to reproduce in the future. If any of the controls are puzzling to you, the game also allows you to remap all of the buttons, enabling you to fine-tune your controls.
You are battling for your life.
Sifu’s protagonist may revive themselves after death at the sacrifice of their youth, which is one of the game’s distinguishing features. This is a two-edged sword mechanism. The most immediate effect on gameplay is that it puts you straight back into the action, since you’ll rebirth with full health where you killed. This may even be done during boss battles, which helps to reduce some of the fears about these harsh confrontations. Your character will grow noticeably more gray and wrinkled as they age, which also affects gameplay.
As you become older, you’ll be able to do more damage, but your overall health will decline. As I played, this presented me with an intriguing issue. With Sifu, like in any other game, avoiding death is paramount. However, if you can avoid/parry the majority of incoming blows, growing older might make you a better fighter. I preferred to keep my youth whenever possible, but knowing that I would gain damage boosts as I grew older helped to lessen the shock of death a little.
In Sifu, though, you don’t want to become too old; your resurrective ability expires at the age of 70, and dying beyond that results in a game over. Unless you’ve permanently unlocked talents, you’ll lose whatever XP you’ve earned and any skills you’ve unlocked. You must account for aging as another aspect in Sifu’s dynamic gameplay. It makes the game a little more forgiving, but it doesn’t make it any less stressful. The age feature adds to the game’s replayability by allowing you to push yourself to replay the plot while remaining as youthful as possible.
A lovely vengeance tale
Sifu portrays you as a once-orphaned guy on a quest to avenge your father’s murderers. The game seems to be a typical vengeance quest at first sight, but what truly struck me was how the game handled the theme of retribution. Unlike other revenge-themed games, such as The Last of Us Part II, Sifu chooses to tell a more upbeat narrative about fleeing rather than falling to the dark shadow of retribution, which I found refreshing. At the same time, it portrays vengeance as a complicated need, and it doesn’t hold its characters responsible for their inherent spiteful impulses.
The game also employs magnificent aesthetics to assist in the telling of its tale. The game’s overall color palette is vivid, making it seem as fantastic as it performs. Every stage seems like a visual reflection of its boss’ mentality, complete with hidden tidbits and backstory notes that help flesh them out more. If you’re truly into the characters, each level includes its own collection of trinkets that provide you even more information about each of Sifu’s important actors.
The final decision
Image courtesy of Sloclap
Sifu is a challenging, but rewarding action game with a lot of punch. It’s often a touch too difficult for its own good, but taking the time to conquer its obstacles may be rather rewarding. However, the game is saturated in exoticism, which puts a damper on the proceedings.
It’s difficult not to suggest Sifu if you’re looking for a tough-as-nails 3D brawler that will put your game-playing skills to the test. Just keep in mind that the game will not be kind to you. To go through it, you’ll need time and effort, just as in real-life martial arts, so be sure you have both before diving in.
|+||Combat is deep, rewarding, and visually stunning.|
|+||The game’s aging system makes it fairly forgiving.|
|+||Levels with a lot of replayability and a nice aesthetic|
|+||An engrossing narrative that prompts you to consider the subject critically.|
|–||Level of difficulty is very high, requiring players to not only grasp the game’s mechanics, but also excluding those who are unable to do so.|
|–||Exoticism and inauthenticity abound il fascination with Chinese culture.|
I was given a game code in exchange for an honest review.