Sifu Review - Brutally Entertaining
February is a huge month when it comes to gaming. We have already seen the release of Dying Light 2 so far, and we still have several more games set to come out over the next 2 weeks. And as a result, Sifu may have gone under some of your radars when it comes to game to look out for. But it is definitely a game that you need to try out, if you love a challenge that is.
The best way to describe Sifu straight off the bat is difficult. Sifu puts to use a combat system and aging mechanic that requires almost perfection. Creating a great challenge for any player.
And I want to talk about the Sifu aging mechanic a little bit more. When you are beaten by an enemy you get the chance to revive, but by doing so you age one or more years. Every time you go down, the number of years you age by increase by one. So, say for instance you go down, you will age by one year that time, but if you go down again you will age by two years, and so forth. You start the game at the age of 20, and if you reach 70 the game ends and you have restart.
You cannot return to a previous age, but you can slow down the effect. When you defeat a high-ranking enemy, the amount you age by will reduce by one. And this system works really well. It really pushes you to perfect the combat while providing an inevitable feeling that you are going to run out of time.
Perfecting the combat is vital to completing this game. Most importantly learning and mastering the parry timing. The window in which you can parry is very short and does feel quite punishing, but it is a mechanic that you will definitely need to get your head around. Because if you don’t, you are really going to struggle in the boss fights.
Though it is really difficult, it is extremely entertaining and definitely one of the best combat systems I have used in a long time.
The other key piece to combat is the upgrade system. Another system that I have a lot of praise for. Almost all of the skills that you can unlock are useful and really enjoyable to use. And this also ties into the aging mechanic. If you fail a level and age, you may lose a skill. It is only by putting enough points into a skill, that you get to keep it permanently. Yeah, it can be a bit painful to see that new skill go to waste, but it really adds to the challenge that this game provides and works wonderfully with the focused mechanics.
Combat in Sifu is as brutal as it is entertaining, but it is when combined with the surrounding locations and areas that make it truly exciting. There are 5 levels within this game, each full of enemies and a devastating boss to fight at the end.
My praises instantly go to the areas. This game makes you feel like you are in a movie. For example, there is a section in the game where you are battling it out against several opponents in a long hotel corridor and as the camera angle turns to show the whole scene, it makes it simply epic. The level design is just amazing and I cannot think of any complaints with it.
But there is one thing I found to be quite a pain (not difficulty-wise) at some points. And that is the camera. As you do get regularly flooded by numerous enemies, you do find yourself against the wall quite often. And this is where the camera really suffers, making it quite tedious to see who is coming at you. That’s my only real complaint really. I cannot think of much off the top of my head that I did not enjoy.
With that out of the way, I want to quickly turn the focus back onto the boss fights. They are tough. The bosses here really push your limits and are a true test to see how well you have mastered the combat. With each using new move sets and finding new ways to crush your spirits after you finally get through a level. But the feeling of satisfaction you get after beating them is so worth it.
Before I get onto the verdict, there are a few further points that I want to bring up. First is that the story that is here isn’t very fleshed out or mind-blowing. But I am not going to mark the game down for this because the game takes a clear focus into the gameplay, which I fully understand. There are multiple endings that you can get, and it is mostly determined by if you choose to spare the bosses or not. To spare the bosses you have to face them twice, which I can imagine some people may not be keen on considering the difficulty.
In terms of performance, I played all the way through on PS5. I had absolutely no issues and the game stayed stable throughout its duration. Which is another point I want to make, the duration. This game is quite short. If you manage to perfect the combat you can easily get everything in this game done in under 10 hours. It may be short, but it is very sweet.
Sifu's difficulty makes it a great challenge, even to the most hardcore players. And though it can be very brutal throughout its duration, it does give a huge sense of accomplishment when you finally beat it. The combat remains constantly refreshing and smooth, while the mechanics work to push you to your limits.
Overall, I am going to give Sifu a 9/10. I have almost no complaints about this game, and those that I do have aren’t very major. Sifu was an absolute blast from start to finish, and if you welcome a challenge, this game is definitely worth playing.