I haven’t picked up an indie in a long while, let alone play one all the way through, but I’m very happy I played Sifu. The 2022 Kung-Fu “Beat-em-up” is a ton of fun and a game you could sink hundreds of hours into. The gameplay and the visuals were incredible, but the game is quite difficult.
Sifu was released on February 8th, 2022 from Sloclap studios. The game was released on PS4 and PS5, but can now be bought on Nintendo Switch for $64.99. Sifu took me around 7.5 hours to complete the main story, but I will dive deeper into that in a minute.
The short and sweet version is that Sifu is a very fun game with some impressive gameplay. Even though there is only 5 hideouts, the difficulty and the different routes keep this game fresh and engaging.
Is Sifu a difficult game?
Sifu is a very difficult game. Upon release, there was only one difficulty, but the developers have since added an easier and a more difficult version. I found Sifu to be quite frustrating and rewarding at the same time. The game forces you to learn combos and specialty moves instead of button mashing.
The main reason Sifu is so hard is the age counter. You begin at the age of 20 and must complete all 5 hideouts before reaching old age. The trickier part is that every time you die, you age exponentially. The death counter rises by one every time you die, causing you to age much quicker, and only goes down as you defeat certain enemies. This age counter gives you plenty of things to do as you progress, as you can redo hideouts to lower the amount of years consumed on each hideout.
Is Sifu Worth it?
I absolutely think Sifu is worth the 65 dollars, based on the amount of content within the game alone. You get around 8-10 hours of story, and a bunch of secondary challenges to complete. The other promising thing is the updates we have seen since release.
Free content updates are always a great thing. That may not continue into 2023, but if it does Sifu becomes even more worthwhile at $65. The difficulty slider is game-changing, and while not everyone is going to be happy about it, but it will make the game a lot more playable for some people.
The Arena feature looks to round out the content on Sifu, and give players another reason to come back to the game after beating the original story.
I really, really enjoyed Sifu and consider it one of the best games I have played in 2022. (No I haven’t touched Elden Ring or GOWR yet) The gameplay was so deep, with a ton of different combos and moves to utilize to beat each of the hideouts. Every run felt different, with different outcomes and enemies. The game was not very forgiving in terms of deaths, but it did get easier as I went along.
As I mentioned earlier, it took me around 7.5 hours to complete Sifu but that comes with an asterisk. It took me around 6 hours to complete the first 3 hideouts and then I moved the difficulty down to complete the final two. Terrible idea. While I did enjoy moving through the game with a more story based view, I missed the challenge. The game became way too easy, instead of becoming slightly less insane. On the student difficulty you lose a death counter and only age 1 year per death. You also have the ability to buy years back at the statues using XP.
The difficulty of Sifu is what made it so awesome and fun to play, so I would highly recommend not reducing the difficulty. The story was not enough to keep me engaged, and the game was a lot worse without the challenge. Without the satisfaction of beating a really hard level, I felt almost bored.
The level of detail in Sifu was also incredible. While it is a “one-run” game, there is more than one way to complete each of the hideouts. You can get different endings to each of the hideouts, and there is always a slightly different way to complete areas. I also loved the small “checkpoints” included in the hideouts to make things simpler once you have made it to the boss for that hideout. This makes things much easier the second, third, fourth time through. Be warned, the game does not inform you of these shortcuts in great detail.
All in all, Sifu was an awesome experience. Between the stunning visuals, the complex gameplay, and the insane difficulty, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. With more updates to come, my time on Sifu is definitely not over.