What The Critics Are Saying About Sifu

Sloclap, the studio behind beloved martial arts RPG "Absolver," has returned with a new action masterpiece, "Sifu." Critics have praised the game, enjoying almost every twist and turn the unique title threw their way.


In the game, the player character's master is murdered, which prompts them to go on a revenge spree. As noted by Gaming Nexus' Henry Yu, "Sifu" quite literally means "teacher or mentor" in Chinese, making it the perfect name for the game as the story asks players to avenge their mentor. The game also includes an interesting death mechanic that brings players back from the dead when they fail — but it also ages them. The older the protagonist gets, the harder they hit, but they also have less health.

Because of these interesting mechanics, Clement Goh of CGM called it "a masterfully crafted lesson in patience." Meanwhile, The Washington Post's Gene Park explained that it offers a "rare treat in video game martial arts: a brutal balletic presentation."


While there were many things critics were enthused about, the cinematic quality of the game was one of the main points of praise.

The beauty of using Pak-Mei Kung Fu

The majority of critics were impressed by just how beautiful the game is. Olly Smith from GameByte said that the game "acts as homage" to Chinese action cinema with its "long, drawn-out fight scenes in tight places." Game Informer's Ben Reeves zeroes in on the use of Pak-Mei Kung Fu in the game, praising the game's fluid animations and remarking that the combat feels "ripped from the very best Kung-Fu films."


Henry Yu also pointed out that the game "[encompassed] both modern and traditional China" in its world, and that Beijing composer Howie Lee did an excellent job of bringing Chinese music, both "past and present," to life in "Sifu." These elements made the protagonist's journey feel much more authentic and captivating for many reviewers who played the game.

While there was plenty to love about the game, there was one hiccup that proved too much for some critics.

Sifu is incredibly difficult

Difficulty in video games can be a highly controversial topic, to the point where many games offer different difficulty modes to help players get the most enjoyment out of a game as they can. Some games have insane difficulty spikes, and it's looking like "Sifu" might just be one of them.


It's important to remember the death system in "Sifu." The game gives players an interesting challenge as they attempt to balance their damage and health through new attempts at revenge, but every critic commented on just how difficult this is to do. In fact, Ben Reeves felt like "Sifu" asks players to master the fighting mechanics in the same way that actual martial arts asks disciples to spend a lifetime mastering.

Olly Smith argued that the combat was just too punishing, while Reeves thought that the revival system eventually turned into too much of a grind. It seems your mileage may vary when you enter the hyper-stylized and violent world of "Sifu."