Already the first trailers of the action game about the martial arts master Sifu were reminiscent of the previous game of the Sloclap studio. The fighting game Absolver is remembered for its deep combat system, which was spoiled by a controversial progression system, a rudimentary story, and an unstable network code. I went through the press version of Sifu several times and was convinced that, despite the lack of online battles and the new surroundings, the game primarily develops the ideas of Absolver and at the same time manages to immerse you in the atmosphere of a real kung fu action game.
The protagonist of Sifu is a kung fu expert who avenges his family. In total, Sifu will have five levels, each of which contains one of the killers who controls a part of the city. In the demo, only the section with the club was available, in which the hero will have to find a certain Sean.
Between levels, the player explores the school of kung fu, where you can read about the antagonists and the evidence found at the levels on a special board or practice.
Combat in Sifu combines elements of Sekiro and the Batman: Arkham series. The player can deliver light and powerful blows that will fill up the fatigue bar above the opponent’s head, just like in an action movie from FromSoftware. If you land enough attacks, you can knock out the enemy with a spectacular finishing move. At the same time, the stamina of the protagonist can also run out – then he will not be able to do anything for several moments.
Or he will reflect the special attack and return to the battle in a rage and with a full supply of health – until the developers talked about what the probability of such an outcome depends on.
From the Batman games, Sifu got the system of counterattacks. There are no icons above the enemy’s head, suggesting that his blow can be parried, but with a successful block, the opponent will be vulnerable for several moments. Absolver also had a system of parries, but there they worked better when the player had time to point them in the right direction. In Sifu, you don’t need to do this – just press the button at the right moment. And here lies, perhaps, the main drawback of the combat system: the parry effect is often not obvious. Without pictograms or even sound signals, it is not clear whether the blow was repelled and whether a series of attacks could be carried out.
Sifu also has an interactive environment – throwing objects at enemies feels very responsive. And in a difficult moment, you can slow down time, aim at a specific part of the enemy’s body and deliver a very strong blow – this skill is made especially nice (some opponents even lose glasses when they hit the eye). At such moments, you feel like an action hero who used a secret technique.
In combat, you can use puffs, bottles, bats and pipes that stun opponents or simply deal a lot of damage. The main character can also climb low walls, but so far this is of little use.
Just like in Sekiro, it’s very difficult to progress through the game without a thoughtful block. During the first passage, I ignored it, which is why I had to start the level again after the second fight, despite the fact that I have to fight in the mission about a dozen times. But when using parries, I managed to run the demo without any deaths at all.
Another mechanic of Sifu is connected with death – the main character can die several times and after each he will grow old. The number of defeats will increase to his age, his health will decrease, but he will deal more damage. Aging can be slowed down – after successful last hits, the number of defeats sometimes decreases.
After death, a special menu opens in which you can spend the points earned in duels on new tricks. Without defeat, you can open new tricks only with the help of special figurines, and this decision seems very doubtful so far. Firstly, there are only a couple of figurines at the level, and secondly, with each death, the number of skills available for pumping decreases. At the same time, many skills feel useless, and it’s not at all difficult to pass the level without pumping. Figurines not only allow you to open blows, but also increase the amount of stamina or health that finishing moves will restore.
Every few deaths, the lower ring disappears from the amulet, and with it the corresponding group of skills.
Opponents in Sifu turned out to be monotonous, in contrast to the same Absolver. On the level from the demo, most of the enemies used the same techniques, and only in a couple of places there were unusual varieties of fighters. Of greater interest are mini-bosses, of which there are two in the club – they have unique tricks and features. For example, a girl on the dance floor can carry out a series of strong attacks and stun the main character with one blow, and a martial artist dodges most of the thrown furniture and blocks almost all attacks.
most boring club
Sifu stands out from other beatmaps and fighting games with its setting, backed up by an unusual style. The developers consulted with specialists to ensure that everything in the game was in line with the traditions of kung fu.