The first level of Sifu is a real trial by fire for those just getting started out.
In The Squats, you go from fighting a few enemies here and there, to a corridor full of stick waving menaces, and finish up with a boss that leaps out of the bushes brandishing a knife at you.
The game certainly doesn’t get any easier beyond that point, but your progress can help set the tone for the rest of your playthough. We’ve got a few tips that might just help with that.
If you want to know what we thought of Sifu, check out our review here
#1 Open the Shortcut
This is probably the best advice we can give you, but you can make your trip through The Squats a lot easier by finding a bunch of keys to unlock a set of double doors situated right at the beginning of the level.
After jumping through the roof and reaching a room with money and flyers on the table, continue down the hallway to find two tough enemies together in a secluded room with a shrine.
Beating both will give you the keys you need and you’ll be able to unlock a door further along the hallway to continue your current run. The good news is these keys will stay with you permanently, so should you die you can start all over again and unlock a slightly easier route to the boss, Fajar the Botanist.
When you start the level over, just hop the fence, beat the two thugs outside and open the door inside. Run past the sofas and bikes, and swing a left into a locker room with a corkboard. You’ll find a set of glass double doors in front of you which you can now unlock, avoiding the corridor of death, while giving you a backdoor to the lab, prime for a couple of sneak attacks.
#2 Get comfortable blocking and weaving
This is going to be important, particularly if you want to survive the corridor and keep your age down during the boss battle. The first few times I played, I got knocked down at least 4-5 times in the corridor and about the same while fighting Fajar. Just blocking at the right times to parry a strike, and dodging when someone comes swinging at me with a pipe, now I barely get hit at all.
Don’t be afraid to spam R2 and L1, they’re going to be your best friends in Sifu. Try to create distance between your enemies and pick them off. And if they’re cornering you, try to block at the right moment to get yourself out of a tight spot. Practice in quiet areas, get comfortable with the position of the buttons, learn enemy patterns and watch their hands and feet carefully. For instance, when someone’s hand or foot is on fire, they’re going to connect and you’re going to want to get out of the way.
This can also be really useful if you’ve unlocked ground counters and weapon catches on your skill tree and can help defeat enemies with more advanced techniques.
#3 Use the environment
In Sifu, you can hop over counters, between rooms and through windows. You can fight with a broom or chuck a beer bottle in someone’s face. My advice? Take any advantage you can get because enemies will do the same.
They may mock you for having a weapon or demand you put it down, but it can be a really effective way to clean up when you’ve got three or four thugs bearing down on you. Pick up anything you can find, keep your distance, and remember there are ways you can heal a little bit for each enemy you successfully take down. That can mean all the difference between being knocked down and staying up.
#4 Take down enemies flashing in yellow
It’s vitally important to get these enemies taken down whenever they pop up because once they’re floored, your age multiplier will decrease by one. Each time you’re knocked down, your age doubles and so if you’re stuck in a bit of a rut, you can quickly find yourself moving from early 20s to 30s.
You are definitely going to want to keep your age as low as possible coming out of the first stage because the game’s difficulty does not let up and you’ll want as much of a cushion as possible. Enemies usually blaze yellow when they’ve blocked one of your killing strikes and they become noticeably tougher to break down once they do.
Beat them. You’ll be glad you did.
#5 Spend wisely
Where you allocate XP and on what will be crucial to your progress. There are also certain abilities you can’t unlock once you’ve past a certain age, so that’s important to bear in mind.
Some abilities to consider are the Double Palm Focus, which pushes enemies far away from you and the Invert Throw which helps you easily switch positions if you’re in a tight spot. If you have the XP to spend, Weapon Mastery can also be very important, keeping your items for longer.
It’s also worth considering investing in a permanent upgrade rather than just spreading your points across various abilities. This is a way of ensuring you carry abilities throughout the game rather than having to keep spending again and again on the same things. Your base set of skills is more than capable of handling anything that comes at you in The Squats.
These are some good points to keep in mind as you play but you’ll almost certainly need a few tries to really get your age down as much as possible. Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t all click immediately.
Just remember, find those weapons, use your Focus Attacks to catch a bit of a breather, and keep your distance. This is also good practice to get yourself comfortable for the challenges that lie ahead.
Sifu is now available on PC and PlayStation
Code Kindly Provided by SloCap/TinsleyPR