SIFU – PS5 Gameplay Review

Mike Alexander
SIFU PS5 Gameplay Preview. SIFU looks set to be one of the best Playstation 5 releases of the year. We take a preview of the gameplay footage from PS5 and review everything we know so far about SIFU, a Roguelike Kung-Fu Action Adventure set to change PS5 martial art games for good.

February is going to be a month full of games. And not just any games, highly anticipated, possibly generation-defining games. Fans will finally get their hands-on Elden Ring, the heir apparent to the Dark Souls throne, and Playstation die-hards will finally have another first-party game to sink their teeth into with Horizon: Forbidden West. And that’s not even including the 8 or so other games on the schedule. 

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Sifu by french developers Sloclap, a  studio that only has one game under their belt. Normally, that would be something of a red flag, but when that one other game is Absolver, an intense, combat-focused game that allowed you to create essentially your own fighting style, I become less worried. Much like Absolver, Sifu is another combat-focused, martial arts adventure, but it truly seems to be a complete evolution of Sloclap’s development prowess. Sifu is set to be released on February 8th, and with that being just a few short days away, let’s take a look at what makes this game so special.

First and foremost, Sifu is a martial arts brawler. You will string together punches and kicks to eliminate your foes, while also using environmental hazards and interactables to either gain or maintain your advantage against large groups.  The gameplay we’ve seen, shows the main character making use of glass bottles, pipes, and bats while also doing things like kicking furniture across a room to knock enemies off their feet. These interactions feel one step away from the “punch laser” system from The Last of Us in how fluid and realistic the animations are. These technical aspects are very impressive from what is essentially a new studio still trying to find its place, and the twist on the brawler genre that Sifu introduces enforces that thought.

The ace up Sifu’s sleeve is that it is also a roguelike, and it is a roguelike with one of the most interesting implementations we have ever seen. When you are overpowered by your enemies and fall in battle, you don’t lose everything right away. Instead of just starting from the beginning of the level, your character gets a chance to unlock skills and abilities with whatever experience points have been gained up to that point, and then you return. Exactly where you fell. Except now, your character has aged several years, lost a percentage of his health bar, and gained considerable strength. When you get back into the fight, you hit harder, have a more expansive list of moves, but you can take less damage before going down again, continuing the cycle. It’s not immediately clear how “old” you can get. In the gameplay shown from early on in the game, the main character seems to be in his early 20s, and some of the promotional material shows that same character in his 70s or 80s. At whatever point your character becomes too old to fight is when you will see a game over screen.

The implementation of roguelike elements in this intense martial arts game is fascinating, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Sifu to fully experience what Sloclap has put together for this outing. Martial arts-focused games don’t come around very often, and if Sifu comes out as successful or better than Absolver, it bodes very well for the genre and Sloclap’s potential future.

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