I was the kid who grew up in the ’80s loving martial arts movies like Drunken Master, The Last Dragon, and countless other kung fu flicks. I knew from the moment I watched the trailer for Sifu that this game was going to be something special, just like those childhood kung fu flicks, and my assumption was correct. If you’re a fan of third person button smashing, then Sifu is a game you need to get your hands on as soon as possible. One of the best things about Sifu is the way the game handles consequences of making mistakes throughout the game, with you character aging until his ultimate death. Sifu is a unique fighting game that puts an exciting twist on the phrase “with age comes wisdom.”
Sifu, developed by Absolver developer Sloclap, tells the story of a kung fu master who sets out on a journey to kill a group of deadly assassins who killed him and his father years ago. The messed up part about the entire situation is you–the player–start out the game as the person who killed the protagonist’s father in the first place. What follows is a wild and crazy onslaught of face smashes, crotch punches, and an arsenal of other moves you can unlock during your quest for bloody vengeance.
As a whole, SIFU feels like the movie The Raid mixed with Grand Theft Auto with a skill unlocking system similar to Insomniac’s Spider-Man games in terms of walkthrough and gameplay. You can exchange XP points earned from beating up bad guys to acquire temporary or permanent new skills like slide kicks.
Early on, you may get the impression the game is simple, but you’ll quickly learn it’s more complex than first glance. The first indication that Sifu has a few tricks up its sleeve is that there is no level select to choose from at the start of it. Instead, players start at the same level, and the only struggles, in my opinion, come if you don’t learn the defenses. As you advance to new levels and die and get older, you’ll begin to realize that the game becomes increasingly more difficult because the more you fail, the more your age will increase. The only plus is that your skills become sharper, but if you are killed too many times and the magic of your resurrection talisman runs out, then it’s game over.
While running around and picking up weapons to smash over your opponent’s head is fun, there are some minor setbacks to look out for while playing Sifu, like mastering the art of the block button. Your enemy is no slouch in this game, and if you take too many hits, you’ll be down and out before you even get started, so a keen focus on trying not to get hit is highly recommended. Also, the camera angles aren’t the greatest at times and don’t always give the clearest view of the action. Aside from that, the game’s music, action, and intense battles with bosses and enemies are enough to spread the word to anyone you know to get a copy of this game.
Sifu is such a genius-level game that pushes you to your limits. It’s easily a game worth checking out with a simplistic fighting set and simple story. It’ll make you earn every victory you claim during your journey for revenge. If you’re a collector of physical editions like myself, Sifu: Vengeance Edition releases in May and includes an art book along with some other goodies. In the meantime, if you can’t wait to see what all the buzz is about, then I suggest relaxing with a cool beverage and some snacks and prepare yourself for hours of butt-kicking entertainment.
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