Essential Tips and Guide for your Kung-Fu Journey in SIFU

Yes, SIFU is challenging game. As I wrote in my review, the game demands a lot of the player. But persist, and you will find a fantastic game that’s well worth your time.

For new players, SIFU can be a little cryptic. But don’t worry, I’m here to help! Below you’ll find some hints, tips, and concepts that will help you on your way. And don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything.

Combat Mechanics

At the heart of SIFU is a deep combat system. Learning the intricacies of it is imperative. Here are the keys along with some helpful tips:

  • Parrying is extremely effective, but also more risky than dodging. Because of the small timing window, it can often be more effective to dodge patterns and look for an opening rather than trying to hit a perfect parry. There are many enemies with 2-3 swing patterns that are easy to dodge and end with an opening that allows you to begin a combo.
  • Master the different dodge angles. Dodging left and right is standard for most attacks, but learning when to dodge upwards (thus hopping over a sweep) or downwards (thus avoiding high swings and kicks) is essential. Some of the best openings for attack are when making an enemy miss one of these attacks and you can turn it into substantial damage.
    • On both the points above, learn when you have a slightly longer opening (usually after dodging an enemy’s orange attack that can’t be parried). In those moments, use a charged attack when you can to fully stun the enemy. This will allow you to then chain longer combos together for increased damage.
  • Master the leg takedown in basic hand-to-hand combat as well as with weapons like the bo. Knocking enemies down to the ground is one of your most powerful tools. In groups, it lessens the number of attacks you have to dodge. And while the enemy is down, you can hold Circle (on PlayStation) to get a few punches in. Similar to finishing moves, you are invincible during this animation!
  • Use your Focus attacks regularly. Tying into the above, my favorite was the leg sweep because it immobilizes an enemy and allows you to get in extra damage for free. It can be used at the end of a combo to keep the attacks coming too. And yes, it works on bosses as well (save for the final one)!
  • I think it goes without saying but just in case: don’t let yourself get surrounded. Use the environment to your advantage and make the enemies line up to attack you whenever possible. Throws and pushes are great for crowd control too.

Aging and Rogue-Lite Elements

SIFU has a few different systems at play and it’s not always the best at explaining them. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Every time you die your death counter goes up by one. You then age by the same amount as your death counter. If you die repeatedly to the same enemies, this can compound quickly. However, there are a couple of ways to lower your death counter.
    • Typically when you beat a tougher enemy, or a group of enemies, without taking substantial damage, your death counter will lower by 1.
    • You can also spend 1,000xp at shrines to reset your death counter back to 0. While you typically don’t want to do this as you should be using XP to permanently unlock new attacks, it can be a very good idea if you’re entering a tough area/battle.
  • When you complete a level, you take with you any of the skills you’ve upgraded along the way and continue at the same age. The lowest age you complete a level at will always save for your next playthrough. So for instance, during a playthrough you reach level 2 at 23 years old. But you then start a new playthrough, don’t do as well, and reach level 2 at 35 years old. Fear not. You can always start a “new game” where you will be able to begin level 2 at 23.
  • The skill tree is where you can unlock new attacks/skills permanently. Each one requires an initial XP amount which will unlock it just for that playthrough. But after the initial unlock, you are required to spend that same amount 5 more times to permanently unlock it. However, you don’t have to unlock all 5 times in a single playthrough. You simply have to spend that XP amount 5 times in total across all playthroughs. So you can work on unlocking new skills over time with each run.
    • There is an age limit to unlock some skills. The youngest are at the bottom and it works its way upwards. So while young, you’ll want to focus on unlocking the skills at the bottom of the tree.

Level Design Hints

Similar to other games of this style, there are shotcuts in each of the levels along with some hidden areas. Here are a few things to be aware of (and some very light spoilers for collectibles):

  • Each level has shortcuts but there can be multiple, and it’s possible for them to interconnect. Learning the fastest way through a level is obviously key. Typically you will unlock the key card/code for the shortcuts in a level after beating a mini-boss or event later in the levels. So on your first time through the levels, you will have to take the longest route.
    • On level 1 (Slums) you will eventually unlock the door at the beginning that leads outside without having to fight through the building. This is the fastest way to the boss.
      • There is a locked door late in the level. You will find this key in a later level.
    • On level 2 (Club) there are multiple paths with side events.
      • Once you get the key card, you can go to the Right after beating the initial group in the club. From there you can go through another key code door to accelerate your path through the level. This is the fastest way to the boss.
        • You can also go up the stairs here to fight some additional enemies and find an NPC at the end. Return to him after playing level 4.
      • Once you get the code (found in level 3) you can go through the double doors on the Left of the dance floor.
    • On level 3 (Museum) there are again multiple paths with side events.
      • Once you get the key card, you can take a shortcut up the stairs. This also allows you to quickly reach the mini-boss who will provide you the code to the Club’s key code doors.
      • Once you unlock the elevator, you can go directly to the boss. This is the only shortcut in the game that leads directly to the boss of that level. Use it wisely!
      • The locked door on platform 4 requires the Art Key (found in level 4).
    • On level 4 (Tower) there are several short cuts.
      • The elevator in the lobby requires a code you receive late in the level. This is the fastest way to the boss.
      • After interacting with the lady at her desk, you can try to access her computer (will need to return to the NPC in level 2).
      • Late in the level once you’re in the caves, you can take shortcuts off two cliffs to avoid combat, but it will cost you a death. You have to decide if it is worth it to you.
    • On level 5 (Sanctuary) there are some side areas to be aware of.
      • When entering, you can go Left into the kitchen but it is not required. However there is a shrine in there (along with several enemies).
      • After going Right, you’ll want to go upstairs in the Guest House. The room at the end of the hallway can be opened.
      • Eventually you’ll unlock a key card for the main door at the start. This is the fastest way to the boss.
  • As I referenced, there are multiple rooms that can only be accessed after finding a key in a later level. To complete the investigation board and get the trophies for “completing” a level fully, you’ll need to unlock all of these.

SIFU will test your patience at times. But once you overcome the learning curve, it’s a fantastic game. I hope these hints help and I will continue to add to the list as I think of more!

By Ains

Founder and Editor-In-Chief: Seasoned Gaming. Avid gamer and collector. Plays a lot of Halo and Diablo. Find me on Twitter @Porshapwr.

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