Sifu Beginner's Guide: 11 Tips For Becoming the Master
Exact revenge without dying of old age.
Sifu is a demanding game that requires you to master the art of kung-fu, while seeking revenge on the ones who murdered your family. The main character possesses a magic talisman that revives them after dying, but the catch is that each death adds to their age. Your goal is to reach the end of the game before your talisman runs out of magic, and before you die of old age. Seeing as how Sifu is one of the most brutally difficult games released in recent memory, you’ll want to come prepared with as much knowledge as possible. In this beginner’s guide, we’ve got you covered with 11 tips and tricks to help you become the Sifu.
Abuse those invulnerability-frames
There are certain attacks you can unleash that temporarily leave you invulnerable to other opponents while the animation plays out. These are known as invulnerability-frames (i-frames) and you’ll want to take full advantage of them. One of the most common moves that fall into this category is the Triangle + Circle finisher, which occurs when you break an enemy’s Structure. This move not only instantly eliminates your opponent, but it’s also an effective way to avoid getting hit by someone else. Likewise, holding the Circle button on a downed enemy will also temporarily give you i-frames.
Learn the combos
It’s easy to want to button-mash in Sifu, especially at the start, but we recommend going into the pause menu to see what combos you have at your disposal. Some of them, like the Square + X Directional Throw can be invaluable during combat, but you might not know it if you fail to check out the list of combos. Keep an eye on additional combos you can unlock from the Skill Tree.
Block, parry, and dodge
You can’t engage with most enemies by simply pummeling them. If you try, you’ll be blocked, parried, and dodged. Instead, learn to combine your attacks with a strong defense for better results. More specifically, we advise periodically tapping the block button followed by an attack to parry an opponent. Even if the timing of your attack isn’t enough to pull off the parry, blocking an opponent raises their Structure, which is equally as important as depleting their health.
How the Structure system works
Speaking of which, let’s talk about the Structure system, because it’s something that could be easily overlooked. Each time you block an attack, a bar on the bottom of your screen raises. This is the Structure bar, and if it fills up to the max, you’ll be temporarily stunned, leaving you open for devastating attacks. Enemies have a Structure meter, too, and even if you block or parry their attacks, it will fill. Use this to your advantage, especially on a foe who’s hard to hit. With these opponents, it’s best to block their attacks, fill their Structure meter, and then unleash a deadly strike of your own.
Back away to regain Structure during boss fights
On the topic of Structure, we recommend always keeping your Structure meter as low as possible. One thing you can do is to back away during a fight so it lowers back down. As long as you don’t sprint or attack, your Structure meter will go down. Use the environment as cover to regain your Structure.
Try to start each fight with a weapon
Although Sifu is a kung-fu game that focuses on hand-to-hand combat, you can also use weapons. These are items such as swords, staves, bats, pipes, and sticks that are littered throughout each stage. The thing is, you can frequently begin many encounters with a weapon if you play it smart. Go back to an earlier area to retrieve a metal bat before heading to the next section, or look around the room you’re in to make sure you’ve collected a pipe that will help you with the battle ahead. You can even take weapons into boss fights. Keep in mind, weapons do break, but there are things you can do to maximize their durability.
Prioritize maxing out weapon durability when you're younger
Each level contains a handful of Shrines, which are represented by little green dragon statues. These Shrines contain stat boosts, such as an increased Structure, more Focus bars, and even the ability to earn more Focus after a successful dodge or parry. However, certain boosts are locked to specific age ranges, one of which is the reward that grants additional weapon durability. This can only be used if your Sifu is 25 or younger, so make sure to maximize this category first.
Grind levels to earn XP and permanent unlockable skills
Speaking of unlockable abilities, we recommend revisiting levels after you’re comfortable with the game’s combat. With the earlier levels especially, you can make your way through while raising your combo meter as much as possible. Do this until you have enough XP to permanently unlock an ability from the Skill Tree. Remember, you must acquire a move a certain number of times before it’s permanently unlocked. For instance, the Charged Backfist move costs 1,000 XP to unlock once, but it costs an additional 5,000 XP (5x1,000 XP) to unlock permanently.
Shortcuts come in handy
As you play through Sifu, you’ll discover keys that lead to shortcuts within that level (or even previous levels). All levels feature a shortcut that lets you quickly get to the boss from an early section in that stage, so we recommend replaying a level right away to finish it with a lower age counter.
Don’t ignore using Focus attacks
Focus is an ability that allows you to slow down time to unleash an unblockable attack (which also gives you i-frames). In the bottom right part of the screen is your Focus meter and it must be filled in order to use. You can actually give yourself more Focus bars by upgrading this ability at Shrines. During bosses, specifically, Focus attacks are crucial, as they deal damage, and cause them to be stunned for a moment after the attack.
Use the cloud to manipulate saves
Each time you die, Sifu instantly creates a save, meaning you can’t undo the death that just occurred. However, there is a workaround you can use and it involves using cloud saves. Before a tricky boss or enemy, upload your save to the cloud. Then, if you die, or if the fight doesn’t go as smoothly as you might’ve hoped, simply close the game and download the save from the cloud, placing you back at the start of the fight.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.