Revenge is great bullshit. I always have and always will. After playing Sifu, which has finally arrived on Xbox Series X/S along with the never-before-seen Arena Mode, I am even more convinced of this despite-and this is all paradoxical-I was literally enslaved by the Sloclap title. I asked myself several times during my long run “But who the fuck makes me catch and eliminate the murderers who killed the family of a character who doesn’t even exist. If I keep this up, I’ll end up with white hair too. – the protagonist grows old with each death-for what then, eternal glory?”
Probably yes, bullying your friends because you managed to go all the way and finish Sifu by 75-otherwise it’s game over-is more than enough condition to start a new game. Be warned, however, the gameplay of the French studio’s latest effort is pure dope, another prerequisite that allowed me to continue watching with pad in hand this hellish kung-fu “movie” that also reminded me of John Wick‘s murderous rampage. Chance would have it, in fact, that in the very days of closing with Sifu, I popped into the cinema to enjoy the prowess of Keanu Reeves in John Wick 4 (the review of John Wick 4 by Dear Matthew, you can find it here).
Old age is not just a number
Now, just to simplify Sifu as much as possible, it is good to know that we are talking about the Future (hopefully) of scrolling fighting games, a particularly punishing work not so much because the enemies are too strong (and bastards) but rather because whenever health runs out, the protagonist or the protagonist, will grow by one year. What is the problem you will think. You start in your twenties, reckless, exalted, swaggering, with full confidence in your own means and lots of health, until you are seventy-five years old. “Embé what does it take, it’s fifty-five attempts for five different levels, it’s impossible not to conclude it“.
This is not exactly the case. This is because if you die consecutively without having beaten the mini boss on duty or having reset the death count near a shrine to zero-you will, however, have to pay for it in experience points gleaned sparingly, giving up on unlocking useful skills-the years of death will accumulate. If by the age of twenty-two you have already died twice in a row, you will move on to twenty-four, skipping twenty-three. If you die again, the number twenty-four on your ID card will turn into a nice twenty-seven and so on. With bosses then, the death count, as if by magic, will become the odometer of a Ferrari.
However, the combat system is so satisfying and responsive, the animations of the protagonist so realistic, fluid, and fast, that one could play the game simply for the sheer fun of it, without feeling that need to get to the bottom of the revenge loop at all costs. If you then add to the playful recipe the environments-just to name two, check out the Museum and Club levels-and the atmospheres, which clearly pay homage to the genre’s best-known and most famous feature films, then yes, you really risk getting into a loop with no way out.
With Sifu I took a master’s degree in memorization
Regarding the death count, however, there is a trick I have perfected: continually redoing the level until, very trivially, it is memorized. Sifu is a game that requires patience and often even repeating the same stage several times in the quest for the perfect run, exploring the most hidden corners of the map to unlock very useful shortcuts that make it easier to get to the boss on duty in case of defeat.
Do not be blinded by hatred after dying for the umpteenth time. Often it will happen that you will fall into the temptation to get back up pissed off black to sling yourself at yet another asshole who earlier dealt you four to five blows in rapid succession that used up all your vitality. This emotional state will cause you to fail endlessly , and reaching, for example, the fourth scenario with more than fifty years is particularly risky if you believe you can make it all the way.
Learn kung-fu. Practice combos, which combine quick and charged attacks, to identify those that make all the difference in the game, shifting the needle in your favor in the most classic of outnumbered confrontations: the kick that lands the enemy and then fills him with blows, for example, is crucial to gaining valuable time while The punch in the face plus kick in the stomach that pushes the opponent away, serves to catch one’s breath and, at the same time, to analyze the field deployment of the other combatants to be knocked out. The time available to schedule the next move is 0.3 seconds and not a tenth more.
Study the movesets of each killer to understand when it is the right time to dodge and when it might be convenient to parry the lunge instead, with an eye always on the posture indicator that is worn down by the number of blows taken. There are two key words to sum up Sifu: Zen approach. Calm and cool blood. Sooner or later, all the sacrifices and patience spent in memorizing every pitfall the developers have prepared for you will come back to you, and that is when revenge will prove to be a super tasty dish seasoned with the flavor of victory.
In short, after feasting on Playstation 5 and Nintendo Switch, Sifu also lands on Xbox Series X/S and Pc. Thank you Sloclap that you have made it possible, after a long year of waiting, for Microsoft console owners to finally get their hands on this darned little gem and also understand the reasons for so much public hype. And so, just as a joke and a reminder of the last The Game Awards, Stray better than Sifu and Tunic?