Sifu is hard, damn hard, but once the big skills and tricks are discovered the game reveals itself as the masterpiece it is. Here are some tips to get the most out of the game. Warning – potential spoilers ahead.
Dodge, Block and Parry are your Friends
It may seem like mashing buttons could be a good way to progress, but it is a surefire path to many quick deaths. Using the Deflect button (L1 on PlayStation) as you are hit triggers a Parry which can stun an opponent for a moment or holding it guards and reduces damage.
The Parry/Guard is a way to quickly get out of overwhelming situations and can lead to quick takedowns on opponents. This is a surefire way to get through group fights. Using Deflect and moving with L stick also does an evade which helps against weapon users and bosses.
The Dodge button (R2 on PlayStation) is a way to quickly get out of range of an attack. Combined with Deflect and movement can get a dynamic dodge out of the way of attacks.
Balancing attacks with Parry and Doge movements is the only way to survive with as few deaths as possible. Figuring these skills out early will make a huge difference in keeping age down between levels.
Live, Die, Repeat, Gain Skills
The basic attacks at the start of Sifu are plenty powerful, but additional combos, attacks and skills will make death free runs easier and easier. The key is to replay the levels, gain experience, unlock skills five times in order to keep them permanently.
The key skills I have found crucial to making a difference are Hook Intercept (still offers a hit if attacked) and Environmental Mastery (allows items on floor to be kicked or thrown at opponents). Weapon Catch and Ground counter are also powerful additions to your arsenal.
Getting unlocked abilities permanently takes many playthroughs but will make it much easier to get further in the game. The benefit is the chance to have a better run giving a lower starting age for the next level.
Weapons and Environmental Items Will Literally Lave Your Life
Staffs, pipes, bats, sticks, heck even a brick on the floor will make a massive difference in a battle. Day to day enemies can be defeated with just a few swipes from a weapon and take damage when they deflect you.
Unlocking Environmental Mastery allows stools, bottles and many other items to be quickly thrown or kicked at enemies and will make many battles much more manageable.
Try to find a weapon in each area so the next battles are not only easier, but also look way more badass.
Use the Shrines wisely
There are shrines scattered around Sifu, often near key locations with bosses or sub-bosses. These shrines offer bonuses to health, recovery, weapon stats or even a reduction in the death counter.
The shrines have different requirements depending on the perk, planning accordingly is crucial. Prioritizing increased structure, extra focus bars and restored health from takedowns has worked wonders for my timelines.
I found myself in some levels (Museum) notably taking time to get a third shrine off the 3rd floor even though the elevator shortcut is unlocked. The extra perks are incredibly useful in finishing this level and moving on to the Tower and beyond.
Live, Die, Repeat, Unlock Shortcuts
Look absolutely EVERYWHERE in Sifu for keys, codes or special enemies. They often unlock shortcuts or even locked areas in previous levels.
With shortcuts there is a much quicker path to a boss and generally at least one or two shrines on that shorter path to leverage. Getting to a boss with only a few battles in the way is HUGE in order to start the next levels at the youngest age possible.
Be Patient When Fighting Bosses
See the first set of tips, make sure to dodge, parry and avoid until patterns are discovered. All the bosses have a stage one and two so try different tactics once that first takedown happens.
The bosses generally have attacks that are avoidable, wait for openings and struck just a few times and the get defensive again. Leverage Focus attacks liberally (unlocking extra focus bars via shrines is very valuable).
Just Enjoy the Audio and Visual splendor of Sifu
If the time is taken to explore the nooks and crannies of Sifu you will never regret it. The levels are beautiful, the sound is stunning and there is so much thought and care in the level design it is almost overwhelming.
Take the time to check out areas once enemies are defeated. It is also key to wait a moment before attacking, believe it or not, many NPCs will not attack you on sight. This will also allow you to find weapons and prep before the next encounter.
With these tips, Sifu will open up and you will be facing Yang at the last battle as a young warrior instead of as a wizened older master.