The movies Oldboy and The Raid come to mind as the most obvious recent(ish) reference points for Sifu, a kung-fu brawler announced during a PlayStation stream today. The grimy hallway in the trailer above looks pretty familiar, for example. What’s really exciting, though, is not just that Sifu is reminiscent of some cool movies, but that the developer behind it is well-equipped to nail the material.
Sifu is the next game from Sloclap, the studio behind terribly under-loved fighting game Absolver. There are a lot of ways Absolver is good, but its best feature is the ability to customize your fighting style, mixing and matching moves to create your own complex rhythm. As a fan of 1978 Jackie Chan movie Drunken Master, I spent a long time developing my skills with Absolver’s clumsy-looking Stagger-style moves, and had just as much fun testing myself against other players as I did experimenting with movesets on AI fighters.
Perhaps that’s a learning Sloclap is bringing to Sifu, which doesn’t appear to have a PvP element. It might, but Sloclap hasn’t mentioned one. As for the singleplayer story, it seems to have a roguelite structure of sorts, in which we attempt to take revenge on the assassins that killed our family in a single day.
“To overcome the odds that are heavily stacked against you, you’ll need to rely on your mastery of Kung Fu, and on a magical pendant that will revive you after death,” reads a description of the game sent to PC Gamer. “The cost of magic is dear, however, and you will age significantly every time you come back to life: time is the price you will pay for your revenge.”
I’m not sure how much the fighting-style customization I like so much in Absolver will play a role in Sifu, if it plays any role at all (I’m going to ask as soon as I can!), but it is clear that your character will pick up some new things along the way.
“Learn from your errors, unlock unique skills, and find the strength within yourself to master the devastating techniques of Pak-Mei Kung-Fu,” reads the game summary. “Your family’s legacy depends on it.”
The trailer only mentions PlayStation releases for Sifu, but it’s also coming to the Epic Games Store. There’s no specific release date yet, but it’s scheduled to come out sometime this fall.
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