Kill Bill, Enter the Dragon, Romeo Must Die – these films all have one thing in common. Thin revenge plot that throws the protagonist into the next ridiculous fight.
From a storytelling perspective, these films are forgettable. From an action stance, these movies have all left a mark. Yep – Dad Joke Mode is fully engaged.
Sifu is a video game version of this type of film. Your father was killed by a former student, and you go on a revenge mission to make the group pay.
Based on this, Sifu doesn’t sound special. The aspect of Sifu that caught my attention was a rebirth mechanic. When you are defeated, a death counter increases and you age that many years.
Die to a tough enemy once, and you will age one year. Die to the enemy again, the counter increases again and you will age two more years – so from 20 to 21, then 23.
Defeat tough enemies and this counter can decrease. But while you are learning, you will age quickly!
Ageing isn’t only a visual thing. As you get older, you hit harder but your health decreases. There are also certain things you can’t learn, as you have gotten too old for your body to learn new tricks.
There is one move that makes me laugh with this mechanic. The Crotch Punch is exactly what it sounds like. But if you are over 29, you can’t learn it anymore. Pretty sure hitting someone in the crotch is a move someone of any age can learn!
I beat the first boss in Sifu on my first run and made it a fair way into the second area. Sifu does not hold your hand, but it isn’t unfair either. Oh, it feels unfair sometimes – but there are ways around everything that has been thrown at me so far.
I can see myself grinding away at Sifu to permanently unlock moves for future runs. Yep – Sifu also has roguelike aspects as well. There is so much to this game beyond the ‘beat-em-up with aging’ first impression.
So far I have been playing on my PlayStation 4, as that console is in my office and I wanted to capture gameplay. Now that the bigger project has finished with work, a run or two of Sifu my reward at lunch? See how we go next week.
If I could spend a couple of weeks playing Sifu all morning, I am confident I could master the game completely. These ideal gaming conditions aren’t going to happen for me.
But if you enjoy strategic beat-em-ups and tactical combat, Sifu may be a game that you should try.