Sifu is a new martial arts game that’s coming early next year. Martial arts have been a key component in gaming since the very beginning. Everything from Kung Fu, Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat have set a standard in what fighting games should be about. Now, Sifu is the newest addition to this category and it’s looking to be a deep and highly immersive fighting simulator. Developed by Sloclap, Sifu centers around a warrior that needs to complete a series of tasks that will uncover the secrets to an ancient mystery. This character wears a magical pendant that revives him whenever he is defeated in battle. The trade-off is that every time the pendant is used, the character ages. The combat seems to provide layers of moves and grapples that seem to be akin to Dead or Alive or even Sleeping Dogs.
The story is a bit of an enigma right now, but the developers have made it clear that it will entail a student seeking revenge against five distinct assassins that killed his family. Redemption will also be a factor with the story in the sense that players will fail constantly, only to learn from their mistakes and ultimately become triumphant. Players will be able to use the environment fully as a weapon. Improvisations will be encouraged and it will also be the key to victory with Sifu. Things like; walls, countertops, tables, ledges, items, and furniture can be used as leverage during combat. Players will need to experiment and adapt to win each brawl. Therefore, this game apparently isn’t going to be a button-masher. There will be timing, tactics, and strategy to consider while fighting in order to best the enemies that players will encounter. From what the trailer showcased, there will be a slew of enemy types to take on and they too can fight just as effectively.
The Aging Dragon
Sifu is surely inspired by a collection of movies in Hong Kong cinema that range from Oldboy to Jackie Chan movies. The love for these types of films radiate throughout the gameplay trailer and it is a sure bet that the developers want to deliver a true interactive martial-arts movie experience. As the player obliterates all the goons throughout each level, the goal is to find the assassins and making them pay. Of course, in classic action-game fashion, these assassins will serve as the boss of their designated stage. As stated before, whenever the player is defeated in a fight, they will become resurrected a few years older. It’s not entirely clear how the aging mechanic in this game will affect the gameplay, but the developers have stipulated that the older the character gets, the more of an “old master” he will become. So, does that mean this move set will evolve? Will he become tougher and faster? Right now Sloclap is keeping a lid on it.
The fighting style in this game will strictly be based on Pak Mei Kung Fu. There won’t be any way to customize fighting skills in Sifu, either. This is actually suitable sense Kung Fu comes with depth that isn’t something to snuff at. The actual word “Kung Fu” refers to “Mastery Through Practice.” Sifu will lean toward players learning from their failures and breaking past their own personal barriers as a player. The combat in this game will have a learning curve that will enable the player to feel like a student rising the ranks up to mastery level like an actual pupil of Kung Fu. The depth of combat and fighting mechanics that the game will have will not be for the faint of heart and it will require a certain level of maturity. Speaking of which, the atmosphere in this game will be rather dark and it will relay a certain level of grit that some martial art games omit.
Even though Sifu may have the potential to have a multiplayer component, it won’t. The developers have crafted this game to be solely a single-player experience. The developers decided that it would be best to focus all resources to create a single-player fighting game that would be as authentic as possible. The fighting will be unrelenting and it won’t be a walk in the park. In a strange way, Sifu will be very much like Dark Souls in the sense that combat will require trial and error. The developers want this game to be an authentic martial arts experience. Players will be tested from all angles and Sloclap stretched the enemy A.I. to its limits so they can become the most hardened fighters that players ever came across. Players will need to be fluid with their skills and spamming an attack isn’t going to get them very far.
Also, players will also be able to choose between a male or female avatar or this game. This won’t really provide any difference with the gameplay, but it will purely be aesthetic. The option is there for players out there that feel the need to switch up the genders. Players will also be able to unlock certain skills as the game progresses. It appears that Sifu will have a few RPG elements that consist of branching abilities that will enhance Kung Fu skills to ease the burden of fighting hordes of enemies. Also, melee weapons will be strewn throughout the levels to where players can use them at their own discretion.
The Price of Vengeance
Sifu was expected to be released in 2021, but unforeseen circumstances have pushed it back to a later date. If the trailer is any indication, it looks like that this title could be another gem. The inspiration of martial art movies is the foundation for this game and it’s reaching for a true representation of them. There are still some details that of yet to be announced. At least gamers know that there is something in the pipeline that will bring a fresh perspective to the martial arts genre. Sifu is now slated to launch in early 2022 for the PlayStation and PC.