As one famous Western philosopher and debater used to say, any problem in life can be solved by bending. True, for some reason he did not add that many difficulties are also eliminated with fists and feet. At least the ones where you need to avenge a murdered father/teacher, restore a violated honor and get moral satisfaction by beating everyone who deserves it in the slightest.
It's not hard to guess that this is what the Sifu protagonist will have to do. Like in porn, the plot and scenario are just a reason for the unfolding action, where there is a stylish opening, beautiful locations, solid action staging, group scenes, references to iconic works and the heat of emotion. Calluses on your hands will also have to be earned. All in the vein of Hong Kong action movies.
In the first ten minutes Sifu blatantly deceives and dulls your guard: you get acquainted with the basic controls, learn some important tricks, get some exposition and quite logical plot justification for one important game mechanic. As in almost any modern game of the genre «Punching», the player has weak and strong blows that can be used to build combos, and a timely block, dodge or parry allows you to intercept the initiative. Sounds uncomplicated? But from the very first level the game starts to show its teeth: this is not Batman Arkham, my friend. It's much more serious.
The beauty of Sifu as a bitmap — Exhaust the muzzleloader as fast and technically as possible, then finish him off nicely. And a little health regeneration is compensation for your frayed nerves. It is worth noting the staging of fights: the game has a lot of animation techniques, achievements and natural transitions between them, and in each inflicted blow feels the force. That's how kung fu fighters are supposed to fight.
Opponents hit tangibly hard, no indulgence in the form of a pronounced telegraphing of the next attack or the gift of a big window to retaliate. There may be several opponents in the same arena who aren't going to line up for blows at all. On the contrary, each of them is trying to get you and contribute to the common cause. Just like in a real fight. Stand in blind defense is not possible — the protagonist (and everyone else) has a Sekiro-like stamina bar: when it runs out, the character will be stunned and vulnerable to a very strong blow that could be fatal. The same is done on enemies.
You can use a wide variety of tactics with them: aggressive batton mashing, good old «hit-and-run», try to catch sparring partners on blocks and dodges, use items at hand like bits, bottles, poles, sticks, machetes, and don't skimp on special attacks. Needless to say, even an ordinary pouffe here can become a dangerous weapon, being sent under your opponent's feet at the right moment.
Unless you'll have to buy the appropriate gimmick for the experience points you get for beating up bad guys. Obtaining new useful hits or passive abilities is done rather harshly: died — …say goodbye to the purchased… Permanently memorized techniques can be, but only at the cost of repeatedly pouring extra experience into the purchased. You can do this either in the hub-location, or near the special figurines scattered around the level, or after death.
And the latter is worth talking about separately. From the usual «lost a life, now you have one less» It has evolved into serious mechanics, making the player value his digital existence even more dearly. With each death the main character grows old, and the counter of the price of death increases by one: first, one year is taken away for the defeat, then two — and so on. Want to lower the counter — Kill some tough opponents (who'll try to get him even higher). Want to drop altogether — Pay with experience at the statuette, spending a valuable opportunity to enhance your character.
Over the decades, new resurrections will be followed by a reduction of health bar and limitation of pumping, because the old man in his seventies did not learn the crown prank Johnny Cage. The only compensation for the lost years — Blows are getting more powerful. But how much it helps when the old man dies with a couple pokes, and the increased multiplier eats up a dozen years in one sitting.
That's the great thing about the Sifu — it is designed for a rather narrow layer of fans of the real challenge and hardcore. Passed the first level carelessly and by the end of it have become two dozen years old? Start your second forty years old. Miraculously survived the second mission and became like the stereotypical old sensei? Good luck getting at least halfway through the third. I still want to overcome the game? You'll have to start past levels all over again, trying to conquer them with a younger protagonist. And again. And again. And again…
And since the game is originally designed for multiple levels, the developers have given each of them a system of cuts that allows you to get to the boss noticeably faster. Alas, they are not a panacea — Except that on the third level, you can go straight to the boss. Plus, using shortcuts has a price: the statuettes of development on the way there are less, and a lot of experience points will not get.
Now ask yourself this question and try to answer it honestly: are you ready to constantly replay the same unchanging five levels, memorize all the patterns of enemies and bosses, while trying to achieve a better result compared to the previous attempt? Most of the time it will take you at least ten hours, despite the fact that technically the entire content of the game can be seen in a couple of hours. If this does not embarrass you, then Sifu will give you a really bright experience, because here you have to really try be better And hone your skills for real.
Alas, but the approach «GIT GOOD» What spoils it most here is the aforementioned dodge mechanic. The point is that depending on the direction of your opponent's strike, you need to move the stick in the opposite direction. Enemy hits in the hull? Backward slope. Now he's going to take a swipe? Have time to move the counterpart up. Swing from the left or right flank? Don't get slapped. In the heat of sparring you simply forget about such details, getting in trouble. And that's what all boss fights and advanced foes are built on. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No, but you'll have to really sweat and keep these rules in mind to win.
Do we wait for the developers from Slocap to add a lighter difficulty mode?? No, otherwise it would kill the whole author's idea of the game. For Sifu truly lives up to her name. She's that crazy asshole teacher from the old kung fu action movies that you'll either love through the pain and understand the essence of his teachings, or hate with all your soul. There is no third level. It's up to you — is it worth going to such a sensei? Not everyone can make it all the way to the end.