Sifu can be an extremely difficult game, especially at first. It poses a steep learning curve early on, and we’re prepared to have nearly everyone who plays it hit a brick wall when they get to the second boss – or thereabouts.
Luckily for you, we’ve put hours into Sifu and we’re on the edge essential advice for those who may have difficulty. Again, Sifu can be brutal. It’s a game that forces you to learn from your mistakes and start over (and over and over again) if you want to beat it.
Below, you’ll find our most important tips and tricks for surviving Sifu.
Avoid, Avoid, Avoid, Avoid, Avoid, Avoid, Avoid
Let’s start with this easily the most important point of all: learn to dodge and use it as your primary form of defense whenever you can.
Sifu isn’t very clear, but trust us: Dodging (holding block then flicking the left stick up or down) is the most reliable defensive technique you have. Dodging properly allows you to completely dodge incoming attacks while maintaining close distance to the opponent so you can counterattack.
For normal enemies, dodging allows you to easily punish their combos. Against bosses, dodging is often a necessity – and again, the game doesn’t do a great job of explaining this.
Evading is much easier than parrying or using R2 for a quick step. Sifu makes it seem like all forms of defense are equal, but that’s just not the case. While parrying and quicksteps certainly have their uses, your avoiding is, in most situations, the safest option.
Although you must properly avoid time to avoid being hit, the avoidance time window is much more forgiving than parrying or dodging. The only problem with dodging is that you will have to react to both high and low attacks.
- High Attacks are the attacks that hit above your character’s height
- Weak attacks are the attacks that hit below your character’s height
The vast majority of attacks in the game are high, but low attacks become more common as you level up. With this in mind, you should try to use a combination of avoid and block. If you’re unsure whether an opponent is going to use a high or a low, try blocking first and then avoid the attacks that follow.
Dodging is also invaluable in that successful dodging lowers your structure (stamina) bar, which in turn allows you to block more.. Balance avoid with block, and you should be much harder to kill.
Bosses are meant to be roadblocks
There isn’t a single boss in Sifu that’s easy to beat on the first try. They all have their own unique set of attacks and require some degree of trial and error – there’s just no way to know what you’re up against until you’ve at least been beaten. Once.
Some bosses require you to remember attack patterns so you can properly dodge them, and like it or not, that’s just part of the process. What we are trying to say is: don’t let the bosses put you off. Like pretty much everything else in Sifu, bosses are only tough until you know what’s coming. Once a battle is all about muscle memory, it’s all about keeping your cool.
Use your old age to your advantage
When you die in Sifu, your death counter is added to your age. And every decade you hit – 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s – your overall health decreases, but your attack damage increases.
Obviously, Sifu’s overall goal is to beat the game at the lowest possible age – almost like a high score. But don’t feel like the game is over if you reach old age. Rebalancing your character can actually be a boon, but only if you put it to good use.
When you’re old, try to play a lot more defensively. You have less health to work with, so not getting hit should be your main priority, but at the same time you deal a lot more damage whenever you are able to counterattack an opponent.
As they say, with age comes wisdom. Playing more carefully when you are between 50, 60, and 70 can make a huge difference due to the extra damage you can deal in quick bursts. With attack bonuses, you no longer have to snack on enemies – just wait for the perfect moment to strike and hit them with everything you have.
Sweep the leg
Your standard leg sweep attack (back, front, triangle) is an incredible tool against lesser opponents. If you’re going up against multiple weaker enemies, try adding leg sweeps to the end of your combos – or just throw them in whenever you think you can get away with it.
Putting an opponent down instantly gives you time to breathe. Additionally, mounting a downed enemy (hold the circle next to them) makes you invincible during the animation where you punch them in the face. Again, this gives you valuable time to assess the situation. and recover part of your structure bar.
Against tougher enemies or bosses, however, leg sweeping doesn’t always work. In these fights, only use it when you are absolutely sure it will succeed.
Never feel uncomfortable using weapons
Your enemies won’t show you any mercy in Sifu, so be sure to show them the same. Pick up weapons whenever you can and use them to defeat the opposition.
Weapons provide their own set of attacks (depending on weapon type) and most importantly, weapons deal more damage than your fists. What else, your structure bar builds up slower when you block with a weapon.
Of course, good things can’t last forever, and weapons break after a certain number of hits (and jams). Weapons can also be knocked back if you get hit with powerful attacks, meaning they probably won’t last long against bosses.
Yet their finite nature only underscores the fact that weapons are there to be used. Without mercy!
Prioritize permanent unlocks of your favorite moves
Sifu’s skill tree is a fickle thing. When you complete a game, you lose all progress in your skill tree, unless you’ve taken the time to unlock certain abilities permanently.. Buying moves multiple times unlocks them foreverand we recommend that you opt for permanent unlocks as soon as possible.
While you have to dump a lot of experience points into permanent unlocks, it’s worth it in the long run. Especially when you’re just starting out, having permanent access to skills like environmental mastery – which lets you throw items at enemies – can be a huge help.
It should also be noted that progress towards permanently unlocking a skill remains even after the end of a game. For example, if you need to buy a move five times to unlock it permanently, and you buy it three of those five times, the game remembers that you only need two more purchases on your next execution. It’s a lot more forgiving than you think!
Your focus bar should never be ignored. At first, you only have access to one focus attack – peek – but you can unlock more through the skill tree. Targeted attacks are incredibly useful throughout the game, allowing you to slow down time and pick up a powerful move.
Your focus bar fills up fast. You can quite easily use multiple targeted attacks in a fight once you know what you’re doing, as dodging, parrying, and landing hits add to it. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to spend it. We’re not saying you have to unleash targeted attacks at will, but using it when things get even slightly tricky is better than backing up for no real reason.
You’ll quickly realize that most focus attacks on the skill tree require the use of multiple focus bars. Sadly, you can only increase your focus bar on the jade dragon statues scattered across the levels — and upgrades are not permanent. You will need to decide if increased focus is something that will benefit your playstyle.
Our last piece of advice is quite sneaky. When you hold L2 to focus, time will slow down. This happens regardless of whether you have enough focus to use a focus attack.
Turns out you can use it to your advantage. Holding L2 to slow down time means you can safely watch what enemies are doing – sometimes you can even tell what move they’re about to use, and then react to it much better than you could have done in real time.
Some might say it’s cheating, but again, Sifu is very, very difficult, and you should take advantage of all the advantages you can get. Think of slowing down time as a learning tool – you can use it to better examine the competition.
Do you have any Sifu tips, tricks or tips? Be like water and share your knowledge in the comments section below.