Of course, even with the addition of an easier Student Mode to ease you into the action here, Sifu's reputation as a bit of a tough cookie still precedes it. This is a game where you'll properly need to focus, with players required to channel their inner dragon, be aware of their surroundings and spend time getting to grips with a multitude of attack and defensive options in order to come out on top.
There's an element of trial and error here, Sifu's about accumulating knowledge, learning from your mistakes, becoming wiser over time, replaying levels, taking the beatings from a handful of hard-ass bosses and then dusting yourself off to go again. Nobody said becoming a Kung-Fu master would be easy, in short, but in order to help you out just a little as you get to grips with all there is to learn here, we've put together a quick list of our top ten tips to help ease you in.
Let's jump in!
Sifu: Top Ten Tips For Beginners
Defence Is As Important As Attack
It may sound obvious, but it's easy to forget about defence when you're up against it and floundering. In Sifu you've got plenty of ways to avoid taking damage. First and foremost though, focus on guarding as you get used to the controls, keep your guard up at all times and then slowly add in dodges to the rhythm of your enemy's attacks. With time you'll learn to read what's coming and gradually make yourself into an almost untouchable target for your foes.
It's important to watch out for guard-breaking attacks and throws here too, both have indicators to warn you they're incoming, so think ahead and prepare for what's headed your way, dodge to avoid guard-breaks and choose your time to attack carefully. Smashing your opponents is fun, but making yourself hard to hit is just as important.
Leg Sweeps Are Your Friend
Leg sweeps, performed by pressing down, up and then "Y" are absolutely invaluable and a move that you should incorporate into your repertoire from the outset. Sweeps help you to control the fight space, maintain authority and get your opponent on the ground where you can then follow up with big damage attacks. It's not easy to remember all of the attack options available to you starting out, but sweeps are available early and we recommend you capitalise on their effectiveness.
Make Use Of Weapons At Every Opportunity
There are weapons everywhere in Sifu, from bottles to sticks, bats, staves and blades. You may feel a little dishonourable using them, but forget that, make note of where you can find weapons and grab them where you can as they are essential to softening up groups and taking chunks of damage off stronger foes. Never pass up the opportunity to start a scrap with a bottle in your hand is what we're saying, the enemies here won't give you an inch, so make them suffer when you can.
Spend Time In The Practice Arena
You can enter the practice arena at any time when you're back at the Wuguan hub area by interacting with the wooden dummy. Make sure to take the time out to jump in here and get au fait with increasingly complex combos, defensive techniques and any weapons you routinely use in battle. Enemies in practice mode can be set to various behaviours, so make the best of this space to finely tune and hone your skills.
Choose Your Unlocks Wisely
Permanently unlocking skills in Sifu requires you to purchase a skill multiple times, which amounts to a significant expenditure of XP. As a result it's advisable that you consider your options early on, focus on skills you will actually use and then make sure to purchase them the required number of times before getting side-tracked into buying other bits and bobs.
Grind Earlier Levels For XP
Replaying earlier levels over and over, getting better at each and every one of them and maximising your XP gains will aid you massively in unlocking skills, improving at the game and growing stronger. Identify skills that are super useful, such as weapon catch and strong sweep focus, then replay earlier levels in order to grind out XP and purchase them. Taking the time to go back and replay levels will make the journey to becoming a Kung-fu master the little bit easier.
Stop Enemies From Getting Second Wind Where Possible
When you see an enemy who has the second wind ability - they usually have smoking embers in their health bar and are tougher to get to a takedown - prepare to alter your tactics in order to stop them from getting the chance to come at you again. Instead of taking them down when prompted, continue to batter them with normal attacks to take them out without initiating a second wind. You'll get to know which foes to focus on as you play and this way you can save yourself a ton of hassle.
Learn Your Combos
Mastering combos and making sure you know the most useful ones to pull out at any given moment is crucial to successful runs in Sifu. Get to know all of your available attack options and master the use of the likes of palm strikes, crotch punches, sweeps and snap kicks in order to give yourself space and time when required. A little time spent in the game's practice mode nailing down your combos will pay dividends going forward.
Control Your Environment & Isolate Opponents
In Sifu you'll quickly become overwhelmed by opponents if you don't play clever. With this in mind, when approaching a confrontation, make sure to isolate and bait out single opponents where possible to whittle down their numbers. When you've no other choice but to get in the mix with multiple goons, use your environment to put space between you and them, slide across worktops and break up the group so that you can get them on their own. Also, as we've already mentioned, keep an eye out for weapons as you move around corridors and rooms, they can make all the difference in a close encounter.
Focus Attacks Are Essential For Tough Fights
Holding in the left trigger when you've got a bar of focus available enables you to use your focus attacks and these are invaluable when you're up against a particularly tough foe. Not only do they do extra damage and let you target specific areas, but you can use the likes of a sweep focus in order to down a foe and then get extra shots in with moves when they're on the floor.
These are our top ten tips for beginners to Sifu but, with a game as complex as this, there's always lots more to make note of.
- Remember to unlock shortcuts in levels using keycards so that return visits can be blasted through more quickly.
- Hunt down all shrines available throughout levels to earn rewards and upgrade on the go and feel free to avoid fights where possible and skip past foes who aren't aware of your presence.
- Make sure to play more defensively as you age. An older protagonist can hit harder, they 've learned more and become stronger, but they're also more frail and take more damage from attacks. Rebalance your approach as you age to defend first, then attack when you've got the opportunity.