With February about to end, Sifu, a game eagerly anticipated by a lot of action fans has been released. We’ve already talked about Sifu in a preview article on this website. So now, let’s review Sifu, the game, and whether or not it’s a must-play or a miss.
What Is Sifu?
Sifu is an action beat-em-up game with some roguelike elements released and created by Sloclap on February 8, 2022, for PS4, PS5, and PC.
PC System Requirements
Here are the system requirements needed to play the Sifu game on PC. We’ll go over the minimum, and then recommended requirements so that you’ll know what to get in terms of hardware.
Minimum System Requirements
- Intel Core i5-3470/AMD FX-4350 and up for the CPU
- 8 GB and up RAM
- Windows 8.1 or later for the OS
- GeForce GT 640/Radeon R7 250 or equivalent and up for the Video Card
- 22 GB of free disk space
- 1024 MB of dedicated VRAM
Recommended System Requirements
- Intel Core i7-6700K/AMD FX-9590 or equivalent for the CPU
- 10 GB and up RAM
- Windows 10 for OS
- Radeon R9 390X/GeForce GTX 970 or equivalent and up for the Video Card.
- 22 GB of free disk space
- 4096 MB of dedicated VRAM
Sifu Game Review
Graphics and Level Design
In Sifu, each of the game’s 5 levels has their distinct look to them that gives them a personality of their own. This, combined with the game’s art style adds a cool aesthetic to the game world. The Squats is a rundown area of the city, overrun by thugs and other ne’er-do-wells. Almost all the walls have graffiti, there are a lot of weeds in various places. The gates have rust and squeak when your character opens them. You can see trash bags on various dumpsters, et cetera.
The Club level is similar to this, but the night gives it a more Red Light District feel. Strobe lights and neon signs abound as music pumps from the game and on the club speakers. The dark lighting of the Club is almost reminiscent of a few scenes from Kung-Fu and Action movies. Where the main character is fighting enemies in a club area with pumping music being played in the background.
On the flip side of things are Tower and Museum levels, which are the complete opposite of the Club and Squats. They’re more sophisticated, and each with its distinct layouts. The Museum is a show of history, culture, and art, with a lot of paintings and a few abstract quotes and concepts painted on the walls. Makes you think about your journey surprisingly enough. Meanwhile, the Tower is a show of strength, a place of opulence while also being a workplace for white-collared workers. Who are also proficient in Kung-Fu, surprisingly enough, but a welcome one.
All in all, the game’s graphics pass muster for a lot of people. The level designs are great, and the overall vibe of the places the player goes to is awesome.
Performance-wise, the game works well on the recommended requirements side of things but don’t expect great graphics. It’ll run properly, but it’s not gonna wow you with cool visuals. Still, if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t care for visuals, then the recommended requirements are A-OK to run the game.
On the minimum side of things, it’s not gonna run well at all. Expect frame stuttering, low-quality images, and generally a bad time. PlayStation players don’t have a problem with this as their specs can run the game at a smooth 30 to 60fps. However, base PS4 and PS4 pro shouldn’t expect ultra-settings in graphics.
As some people can probably tell, the game’s attacks and combat is inspired by Pak Mei Kung Fu. This adds a level of authenticity to the game’s combat and the fact that there are 150+ unique attacks just makes it even more ridiculous. These attacks can then be chained together in unique ways to create combo strings that can lead to more devastating moves and abilities. Some of these combo strings can even knock down opponents or stagger them.
However, not getting hit is also one of the things that players need to keep a keen eye on. This is because enemies can and will kick your ass if you’re not careful. Dodging, blocking, and weaving your way through vicious attacks is the name of the game. Avoiding attacks is imperative as it allows you to counter and not get killed.
This is good because the game’s combat is an absolute monster if you’re not prepared. It’ll chew you up and spit you out, and rip your ass to shreds. It puts a lot of emphasis on attacks and careful management of your enemies if you want to achieve victory. Your character can do a lot of quick strikes to overwhelm opponents with attacks, or do one, powerful hit that breaks their posture and guard. Once their guard is broken, it leaves them vulnerable to an unblockable move that deals massive damage or kills outright.
Sifu game’s controls are pretty straightforward. Sorta. The controls can be remapped but usually, the default controls are good enough for a scrap. These are the controls in question for the PlayStation version of the game:
- Left analog stick: Movement
- Right analog stick: Camera
- Square: Light attack
- Triangle: Heavy attack
- Square+Triangle: Takedowns
- Circle: Weapon Pickup (Holding circle makes the player attack downed enemies.)
- X: Interact/vault over terrain
- L1: Deflect (Holding L1 puts players in a Guard stance)
- L2 Hold: Brings up Focus
- R1: Throws held weapon
- R2: Dodge (Holding R2 makes players run)
Leading A Healthy Life Means Not Getting Hit
Not getting hit is an important part of the Sifu game’s core gameplay and there are multiple ways to do it. They can dash away from enemies, parry attacks, or block. Players get access to these skills immediately when they start the game and they’re essential to Sifu’s gameplay. This is how to do either of these:
Dashing is a simple enough one. Simply press Shift on PC or R2 on PlayStation and then go in a certain direction. This makes the player dash a short distance away from enemy attacks. However, some attacks will chase after the player, which makes dashing a bad idea to do. However, it’s usually a good way to get a bit of distance when fighting against groups of enemies.
Then we have parries, which can be done by timing blocks perfectly when an enemy is attacking. This opens them up for a blistering counterattack that obliterates their posture/structure gauge, dealing massive damage. In controller speak, tap L1 when the enemy is attacking. Do note though that parries can be a bad idea in certain situations, and is not advisable against certain attacks or bosses. Holding L1 would instead put them in a Guard stance, which is a perfect Segway to the next way to avoid damage.
Holding L1 and moving the D-pad would make the player character dodge attacks. There are 2 attack types in Sifu and these are high and low attacks. Usually, a lot of attacks are high attacks and can be dodged simply by moving the D-pad up while holding L1. Low attacks, usually sweeps, can be dodged by moving the D-pad down while holding L1.
Sifu is a difficult game, that’s no question. If you’re not paying attention to what the enemy is doing, you’re going to die. Difficulty in this game is tied to how well/how badly you’re doing. If you’re several deaths into a run and you haven’t unlocked that much, you’re pretty much screwed. If you’re younger and have upgrades, you generally have a good time so long as you play well, and that’s the kicker. Sifu wants you to play well to have an easy time.
If the player wants to unlock all of Sifu’s secrets, a constant improvement in combat and gameplay is necessary. The game wants the player to grind out the game and learn its intricacies to achieve the goal of getting to the final level and winning. The Death System helps in this significantly, something we’ll talk about more when we get to that section of the article. Overall though, if you want to have an easier time in the game, learn the mechanics, the controls, and the moves. It’ll help a lot in the long run.
Sifu’s death system is a surprisingly elegant one. Players start a run as a young man, or woman, yes you can choose genders. Once they start, they’re then thrown into a gauntlet of enemies in the game’s levels. If you die, you have 2 options: They can either stop the run entirely or grow older, continuing the run. The former would take the player back to the hub area while the latter respawns the player on the thick of the action. Every time the player dies, they can spend EXP to learn skills. We’ll discuss this later, just know that you can spend EXP on skills when you die.
The fact that you’re older isn’t just a visual change though. As your character grows older their attacks deal more damage, but they have less HP. In addition, some skills wouldn’t be learned if the player character is too old to learn them. We’ll talk more about that later. This makes Sifu a balancing act between trying to stay alive and ensuring that the player gets enough skills to defeat their enemies.
Skills And Age
When the player dies, they’re sent to a death screen where they have a choice to either return to the hub area or continue on the run. It’s also here where the player can spend EXP to learn various skills. Each skill has an EXP cost to them, and unlocking a skill enough times in subsequent playthroughs can unlock them permanently for future runs. However, death has a price.
There’s a direct correlation between what skills your character learns and their current age. If your character’s too old in one run, they can’t learn skills that require them to be at a specific age to learn. An example of this is Crotch Punch, which works exactly as advertised. This skill requires 1500 EXP to unlock in a run, and a total of 7500 EXP to fully unlock for future runs. It also requires the player to be less than 40 years old.
Another skill that has a more stringent age requirement is Weapon Mastery, which allows players to use weapons for longer before they break. It requires 1500 EXP to unlock in a run, and a total of 7500 EXP to unlock permanently. Lastly, it can’t be unlocked if the player is over 30 years old.
Thus, it’s usually a good idea to unlock the skills that have the youngest age requirements first. This allows the player to have a foundation to work on before working their way up to the skills on other tiers.
Sifu’s story isn’t a complicated affair and is pretty clear-cut. Your character is a family member of a martial arts school’s Sifu. One day, the school was attacked by 5 martial artists: “The Botanist” Fajar, “The Artist” Kuroki, “The Fighter” Sean, “The CEO” Jinfeng, and lastly, “The Leader” Yang.
They kill all the students, and Yang confronts the Sifu and demands his knowledge. The Sifu refuses Yang, who’s revealed to be a former student of the school, and was subsequently killed for resisting. The player character was then found by Yang and orders Fajar to kill them, but thanks to a magical talisman, your character is revived. 8 years later, the player character returns, having trained in martial arts to get his revenge.
That’s pretty much the story. There are 2 endings to Sifu depending on some player choices which we won’t spoil.
Sifu’s replayability hinges on grinding down its challenging gameplay. The player has to go in and make sure that they completely master the game’s mechanics and fights before they can put the game down. Combine this with the additional side content like new entryways and hidden things in the detective board.
Is The Sifu Game A Must Play?
If you’re the kind of gamer that wants to perfect their craft and to deal as much death with just their body? Then Sifu is a game you should try to get. The gameplay is tough, yes. But with enough time you’ll master the fundamentals and be on your way to destroy the various challenges the game throws at you. Sifu is a game that will not only challenge you but it will make you feel satisfied once you finish it. With that said, Sifu is indeed a must-play game.
Sifu Game VS Similar Titles
Now that we’ve talked about Sifu, let’s go over a few games like it. We’ve already talked about Sekiro, God Hand, and Remember Me in the preview article. Now, let’s talk about Absolver. The Yakuza series, and lastly, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.
First off is Absolver, a game also made by Slocap and shows their design philosophy incredibly well. If you’ve played Absolver before you bought Sifu, chances are you’ll see a lot of similarities between the two games. The fighting styles and combat is remarkably similar, with Sifu being a more refined version of Absolver’s combat. However, Absolver has a lot of interesting things about it as well.
For one, the game’s main draw is the fact that other players can join your world and do various shenanigans. They can help in defeating enemies, fight to the death with the player they invaded, do weird things before leaving, et cetera. In addition to this, the game also has a robust combat customization system available to the player. They can switch stances on the fly. And each stance has a combo string the player can create themselves to maximize damage, combo length, and more.
All in all, if you’re looking for a good fighting game with a good amount of customization and a lot of shenanigans to do? Try out Absolver, you might like it.
The Yakuza Series
Next on the list is the Yakuza Series, which is an absolute no-brainer, given the game’s emphasis on beating enemies to near-death. The Yakuza games have always straddled the line of contemplating the player’s place in the world with doing cool things and beating idiots. In addition to all that, the various interactions between the main characters and the other people around them are all interesting and very engaging. With each of them having their backstories, motivations, current maladies that need to be solved, et cetera.
When it comes to gameplay and combat, the Yakuza Games don’t disappoint. The various characters each have their quirks in combat that players can make use of to defeat their enemies. Kazuma Kiryu for example can clobber enemies with his strong brawler style, but he also adopts things from other fighting styles as well due to his Dragon/Legend fighting style. And that’s just Kazuma. There’s still Goro Majima, Makoto Date, Haruka Sawamura, and a whole lot more, each with a unique fighting style of their own. You won’t get bored with the Yakuza series when it comes to combat.
As you can expect, the game’s main draw is combat and fighting. However, the whacky stuff you can do in between is as much of a draw as the fights themselves. The fact that you can see Kazuma Kiryu sing his woes while drinking hard liquor is absolute genius. Saving a Cabaret Club? Also done, and you can even go inside to interact and flirt with the girls. Wanna play Virtua Fighter 5? Look no further than Yakuza 6, where you can do just that after finding an arcade cabinet.
Try the Yakuza series. It’s well worth it.
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise
Last but not least is Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. Which are the Yakuza games if they’re in Fist of the North Star and Kenshiro is the game’s main character. If you’re at all familiar with the Fist of the North Star manga, you can already tell where this is going. The game’s action is crisp and very much in line with the manga source material. If you want to see Kenshiro do his various finishing moves while the names of said moves flash the screen when he does them combined with Yakuza gameplay? Then this game is for you.
In addition to this, the game also has a lot of weird and wacky things that people expect from the Yakuza series. For example, the time-honored tradition of being a Cabaret owner returns as Kenshiro does Kenshiro things and saves the Cabaret club from getting wrecked. In addition to this, he also moonlights as a doctor, a bartender, a gladiator, a race car driver, a baseball player (If said baseball bat is a steel girder and the balls are bandits), and a gambler. You won’t run out of side activities when you play this game, we assure you.
Overall, this game is Kenshiro going around, doing what he does best. Helping people, defending the weak, and saying “Omae wa mou, shindeiru” to the enemies fighting him. Also a lot of “ATATATATATATATATATATATATA!”s when he attacks, which is bloody brilliant. If you’re a fan of the Fist of the North Star manga and the Yakuza series? Buying this game should be a priority and a duty, there’s no point in hesitating.