I completely missed the boat on Sifu when it launched earlier this year. I was far too busy playing Elden Ring and comparing it to HBO teen dramas. However, after trying out the upcoming DLC at Gamescom I want to rectify that. It adds both challenging and silly options to the game, meaning all you seasoned sifus out there will have a reason to come back – whether that’s for laughs or to prove you can overcome even the most insurmountable odds is up to you.
Gameplay modifiers and new scoring systems were released as part of existing updates to help make the base experience a little easier to swallow. As this was my first time with the game, I opted for more of a fun run rather than a no-hit run. Yeah, I’m a filthy casual, whatever. Adding in bullet-time and low gravity made Sifu feel like a psychedelic Matrix montage. As I slowed time to block incoming hits, I’d send KO’d enemies flying into the air and leave clutter on tables levitating as I slid over. I didn’t feel like an apprentice slowly learning the ancient ways of Kung Fu. Instead, I felt like a warrior of almost supernatural capability, like Xiao Mei in House of Flying Daggers.
You can crank the levels up to Neo once he attains the powers of The One if you want. Invincibility, all skills unlocked, all shrine bonuses, and infinite structure. Make sure to throw in the bullet-time, too, to get that true Matrix feel. Of course, for veteran players, I did look at the options that make the game a lot more challenging. You can make the enemies stronger, give yourself a single hit point, remove your guard ability so that you either have to dodge or parry, and remove the pendant, your source of resurrection. Why you’d want to do this I have no idea, but people have done no-hit runs of the entire Soulsborne series, so it’s good to see Sloclap managing to appeal to both hardcore and casual players alike with Sifu’s continued evolution.
With this update comes a new scoring system that offers a more satisfying judgment on the way you played. Before, the highest score was determined by how few hits you took and how many enemies you defeated. Now, style comes into play too, meaning all old leaderboards are in the bin and you've got to go again if you want to secure bragging rights.
Coming in a Fall update is a new replay editor. The devs told me that before, “the player was the choreographer, now they can be the director too.” You’ll be able to change camera angles, add effects, and generally make your fight sequences look like those from your favourite martial arts movies. Just remember, Old Boy is Korean, not Chinese. There will also be a Winter update that adds ten new arenas with specific challenges such as surviving for a set amount of time or beating specific targets.
The free DLC doesn’t add more story content or address the cultural issues some critics pointed out at Sifu’s launch. However, the gameplay additions on offer will be a blast for returning and new players, and with the replay editor you can really go into overdrive and curate the perfect action sequence. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it adds on to what Sloclap has built in an entertaining way.
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