There’s been a distinct lack of good fighting game releases lately. The ones where you use your fists and those around you to beat up your enemies. Back in the day, players go to the arcades to play Streets of Rage until they run out of quarters. Nowadays, that’s no longer the case, and beat ‘em ups are now a rare breed. Well, Sifu is going to try and change that.
What Is Sifu?
Sifu is an upcoming beat ’em up action-adventure game published and created by Slocap, a French publisher.
The game is set to release on February 8 next year for PC, PS4, and PS5.
Sifu Game Preview
Sifu’s gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a game that takes inspiration from kung-fu movies. We’ll talk about that in the Combat and Controls section, but for now, let’s talk about the other parts of the gameplay.
For one, there is a bit of magic in Sifu, not just martial arts, as the player’s character resurrects when he’s killed in combat. In addition, they age while the game progresses, their attacks growing stronger in exchange for losing HP.
While doing their runs, they can visit various shrines that give them heals and increase their fighting repertoire and skills. When they die, these abilities are lost, but there’s talk about some abilities becoming permanent additions to your repertoire as the game goes on. With each run, new paths will open, secret areas will be unlocked, and new information about the story will be revealed. All this will be placed on the Detective Board, which players can use after they’ve played the game at a certain point.
Combat and Controls
In Sifu, the player takes control of a martial arts student, and it shows in the game’s combat. You take control of your character, and, through a series of moves straight out of a Bruce Lee movie, you decimate your opponents with style and power. These moves range from ducking and weaving through attacks, parrying to setup for counters, and devastating punches and kicks.
Above all else, taking control of the battlefield is key to victory. If you can’t control the battlefield, you’re pretty much dead. This can range from jumping over couches to avoid encirclement to slamming someone’s head in a wall or throwing an enemy over a railing.
It wouldn’t be a proper kung-fu style game if there are no improvised weapons. Making use of broom handles, beer bottles, weapons your enemies carry, and even chairs can help in dealing with enemies in this game.
All enemies and your character also have a sort of posture gauge that the player fills up by attacking and parrying. When this is filled up, the player can do a devastating finishing move, dealing significant damage to the enemy in question, oftentimes it’s enough to deal with them. But some enemies, like bosses, need multiple finishers before they’ll submit.
In terms of its parry system, the game gives the player multiple options on how they want to parry. Make sure that you get a successful parry as this allows you either directly block the attack in question or redirect the attack, or even the attacker, to another area of the battlefield. However, do note that some attacks cannot be parried, and thus need to be dodged.
Lastly, when your character’s back is against the wall, the game has a Focus gauge that builds up as the player fights.
For now, there’s not much we can talk about in terms of the game’s story as there’s not that much revealed about it. But from what was revealed, Sifu’s story is pretty simple.
You’re a martial arts student who underwent training to take revenge for his brutally murdered family. To do this, you finish your training and go to a pretty generic city in China. It’s here where you try to look for five assassins while punching, kicking, and dealing with any who bar your path.
Sifu’s level design is not revealed that much yet. What we do know is that we’re in a Chinese city with the usual things you can find in a kung fu, martial arts movie: from the seedy bars and the martial arts dojos to the dingy and dangerous alleyways filled with street thugs. If you’ve seen a martial arts movie, there’s a really good chance that Sifu’s taken some inspiration there, which makes sense.
There’s also not that much we know about Sifu’s sound design. There is ambient music depending on where your character is currently located though. For example, there’s a club that you go to that has a cool dubstep beat going on while you’re beating up the people inside. Other than this, though, we don’t know much yet.
Is Sifu Worth Getting Hyped For?
Sifu’s gameplay alone makes it something to be hyped about. The fact that you can be a martial artist fighting to avenge his family against the plot of five assassins can remind people of various kung-fu movies that came out ages ago.
Hopefully, the game will live up to its hype, but from what was shown, it seems that Sifu will be a game worth hyping.
How Does Sifu Compare to Similar Games?
Now that we’ve talked a bit about Sifu, let’s talk about games like it.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro is one of the best games that ever came out in 2019, no exceptions. From Software went outside their comfort zone and gave players something incredibly cool to play with. In terms of comparison, Sifu’s stance and parry system are similar enough to Sekiro’s.
For one, the game is a very punishing one, with a lot of emphasis on movement and parrying in its combat. Successful and even perfect parries can help in disrupting an enemy’s posture gauge. If filled, the main character Sekiro can immediately deliver a death blow, instantly killing the enemy he’s fighting. However, Sekiro also has his posture gauge that if filled, will leave him vulnerable to enemy attacks.
Sekiro also has other abilities and tricks in his arsenal, some of which are inside his prosthetic arm. If he can find the right items, the Sculptor in the Shrine the player starts in can then craft Prosthetic Tools for Sekiro to use. These can range from a hand ax to destroy shields, a poisoned sword, a shuriken thrower, and a whole lot more. Of course, all of these Prosthetic Weapons use Spirit Emblems, which Sekiro can get by killing enemies.
The game also sprinkles in a few minibosses here and there, each with multiple HP bars that need to be drained by deathblows before they die. Careful usage of attacks and specific Prosthetic Tools are the key to victory in a lot of situations in Sekiro.
Remember Me is a game that puts a lot of emphasis on its story, with the added pinch of unique combat. The game has you play as Nilin, a memory hunter working for the Errorists, an underground resistance that seeks to stop the nefarious plans of the Memorize megacorporation. When the game starts, almost all of Nilin’s memories were wiped by Memorize. Thus, the player needs to guide Nilin on not only defeating the megacorp but also retrieving Nilin’s memories.
To help with this, Nilin has a variety of skills that the player makes use of to defeat her enemies. The first is her combat skills, a.k.a Pressens moves that Nilin can slot into combo strings that accomplish different effects. There are four types of Pressens in the game: Regen, Cooldown, Chain, and Power.
Regen Pressens heal Nilin but deal less damage. Chain Pressens replicate the previous Pressen in the combo chain and amplify its effect. Power Pressens deal enormous amounts of damage, and lastly, Cooldown Pressens, which reduce the cooldown of S-Pressen abilities.
S-Pressens are abilities that Nilin can utilize to change the battlefield and she can utilize five of them. These are the Logic Bomb, Sensen RIP, Sensen DOS, Sensen Camo, and Sensen Fury. Each of these moves can be used in battle to destroy all of Nilin’s enemies, but have a hefty cooldown.
This is where Cooldown Pressens come into play, as each of them can reduce S-Pressen cooldowns so that the player can use them more. Thus, having a good head on which moves can be good to string on specific combos to do different effects will lead to a victory in Remember Me.
Last but not least is God Hand. Its combat system is ridiculous, and there’s a lot of things to be said about it, most of it good. The game is straight-up fire and it’s an absolute tragedy that it flopped.
But you might be asking. Why? Well, this is basically what Sifu is trying to go for, and hopefully, it will achieve this. Difficulty-wise, the game has a scaling difficulty that has four levels: Level 1 all the way to Level Die.
On Level 1, the game is pretty merciful. All enemies deal standard damage, have basic combos, and in general, are very good at kicking your ass. Then, you get to Level 2 and 3, where they get even more combos, harder to stun or stagger, and are will punish the player if they whiff their attacks and dodges.
In addition to this, the game has 117 moves that the player can slot into the attack button. Do those moves all combo into each other like in other games? Nope. You need to figure out which of these moves work well together.
In addition to that is the way players dodge. There’s no blocking on God Hand, players need to dodge by using the right stick, and each motion has a specific dodge. Also, attacking while connecting leaves the enemy vulnerable, allowing you to do even more attacks. However, the third-person view of the battle leaves the player vulnerable to enemies that sneak behind them.
All in all, God Hand is a game way ahead of its time, and Sifu is following in its wide, wide footsteps. Hopefully, it can deliver.