Sifu

Posted:  Mar 28, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star

Review

Sifu was provided by Sloclap, Kepler Interactive, and Tinsley PR for review. Thank you!

Sifu is a third-person brawler where you will track down and hunt your family's assassins. Take control in tight Kung Fu combat as you travel from location to location to avenge what you lost. As you go through levels and/or die, you will be able to upgrade, learning new moves, increasing weapon damage, and more. But beware, every time you die, you will age, which will reduce your health and increase your damage. Do you have the willpower and skill to destroy your enemies? Only time will tell!

Okay where do I begin. Sifu is such an addicting title that I completely suck at. The reliance on skill, timing dodges and parries, and the epic moves when filling an enemy's shatter bar feels amazing when it all goes well. I also love the idea of aging every time you die. It's so cool to see yourself get older and older, which I don't see many games do. On top of that, the areas are varied and diverse from each other with minor physics-based elements that really bring the world together. The base game is fantastic...and then we have the Arenas expansion.

Arenas Expansion

While the base game is really fun and it's nice to go back over it, the Arenas expansion adds a LOT more replayability. Along with new outfits, the expansion adds in 5 challenges across 9 maps (with more to come later), making the current offering of 45 challenges total. These challenges can range from time-attack, survival (beat the enemies and keep your age as low as possible), performance (get the highest score), and more, sometimes with modifiers. Each one has 3 benchmarks, which will earn you tokens to unlock the next sets of maps. These are a fantastic way to challenge yourself and keep yourself engrossed in the game, even after beating the story.

I think my favorite part in all of this is the themes they have for the challenges. While some are more generic, I did see a couple of nods to pop culture, including one referencing the Matrix where you were fighting in an outfit similar to Neo against waves of enemies that look oddly like Agent Smith. These little references really brought a new level of enjoyment, especially when they elevate the experience with modifiers. In the Matrix-like challenge, you have a modifier that you can't use weapons, but time slows down when you block. Those little attentions to detail really captured me.

SifuArena4

If I had to point out one gripe I have, it would be a simple Quality of Life feature. Before going into challenges, I like to see what benchmarks I need to hit to get all the tokens. The only ways to see it currently are to pause the challenge in the middle of it or to complete the map. In the grand scheme, it is a small issue, but it would be a nice little addition.

The good news in all of this, on top of how awesome the game is, is that you WILL enjoy this on the Steam Deck!

Sifu - Optimizing for a Kung Fu Master

Sifu runs extraordinarily well right out of the box and only shows some minor slowdowns in the base area and some bigger open maps. Though, with no caps on, the 60 FPS limit can drain close to 23W - 24W, which is a bit too much for me. Luckily, there's a good compromise to keep things stable and smooth, while bringing drain down to an average of 13W - 14W.

SifuMAX

Keeping everything at Ultra, except for "Effects" which is reduced to high, a 45 FPS cap works like a charm as a good balance between smooth and battery saving overall. With TDP set to 9, you can expect a gorgeous and smooth experience with a battery drain around 3 hours. There is some stuttering going into open areas, but you can set a GPU Clock Speed of 1200 to get rid of the smaller ones. And on 45, the big ones don't feel nearly as bad!

From there, I went down to 40 FPS to get a battery build. While 30 is better for battery saving and a little more stable, the game shines at 40+ with the smoothness, so that is my goal. Putting everything down on High with effects to Medium, and a TDP limit of 8, will maximize the battery life without sacrificing visuals, saving an average of 0.5-1 hour of battery life.

Now, setting everything to medium and effects to low, while increasing the TDP limit to 11, will give you a solid smooth 50 FPS for our performance build. It does drain a bit more, and the stutters are a little more noticeable, but with the GPU Clock Speed set at 1200, it is definitely playable.

I also did notice some loading in from around the map as I was turning corners. This resulted in white flashes that appeared in certain spots, but it didn't last long. It happened enough for me to notice it though. Sifu does support 1280x800 resolution and full controller support though!

Stutters Galore and Cloud Saves

Like I mentioned above, there is currently a stuttering issue in the game. It happens a lot in the beginning/tutorial of the game, but really reduces after that. Due to how the stutters happen, I believe it is a shader cache issue and one that will resolve itself in a couple days. I will check again when the cache is out to verify, but the game runs ridiculously well in general, so I would be surprised if this persists.

Sifu also doesn't have any cloud saves, which means you won't be able to continue the game on your PC and the Deck. Hopefully Sloclap adds this in, but as of right now, there isn't any cloud saves.

Conclusion

Sifu is an addicting and incredible brawler that really pushes you to learn and grow your skill to dominate. The grandeur of the combat and skills, mixed with the gorgeous animations, visuals, and camera work, makes for a fighting experience unlike any other. And the Arenas expansion adds even more to that, bringing in replayability, challenge modes, and outfits as a free update! To sweeten the deal, it also runs significantly well on the Steam Deck, even with the slight stutters. Overall, if the shader cache helps the stutters, this is an easy 5/5 and must have for the console.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Sifu is an excellent brawler that relies on skill, while the Arenas expansion adds replayability in the best way. And you can enjoy it all on Steam Deck.

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Community Rating

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Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$39.99
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Proton DB Rating

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Other Builds
Battery Build
SteamOS

Limit

40

Refresh Rate

40

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

8

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

1200

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Display Mode: Borderless

Render Resolution: MAX

Vsync: Off/No

Shadows: High

Textures: High

View Distance: High

Effects: Medium

Post Process: High

Foliage: High

Anti-Aliasing: High

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

11W - 14W

62c - 69c

3 - 3.5 hours

Framerate Build
SteamOS

Limit

50

Refresh Rate

50

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

11

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

1200

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Display Mode: Borderless

Render Resolution: MAX

Vsync: Off/No

Shadows: Medium

Textures: Medium

View Distance: Medium

Effects: Low

Post Process: Medium

Foliage: Medium

Anti-Aliasing: Medium

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

14W - 18W

68c - 75c

2 - 2.5 hours

related Settings

8 comments on “Sifu”

  1. i just tested it and steam cloud appears to be working with proton ge which was a deal breaker for me, glad to see it is working on my tests, i didn't see any patches released so could of been the early access version not supporting steam cloud, i'm not sure.

    1. There definitely wasn't Steam Cloud when I had reviewed it before release, so it could be something added in after! I'm glad it works with GE, but it doesn't with normal Proton?

  2. This is literally the game I've been waiting for to play on the Deck. I know, I could have gotten it from the Epic store, but I'm a simple man - if it's not on Steam, I don't buy it.
    When I launched the game, I was a little shocked, as my Deck went into airplane mode. The game starts with all settings set to Ultra right out of the box. Battery drainage is horrible as mentioned in the article. And the fans are going nuts.
    I then did an "auto detect" in the graphics menu, which left me with all settings on "high" and a reduced render resolution (absolute resolution still at 1200x800). Then I started to hit the TDP (I think 13) and the GPU clock (I think 1000). The game still looks absolutely amazing on the Deck's screen and runs at a smooth 60 fps with a drainage of 15W-16W. This is for the first area. Let's see how the game acts in later levels.
    I did notice the stutters when entering a new area, but those never where an annoyance.

    What I didn't like, was that the game crashed twice in the Level-Up menu (after death or at a dragon sculpture). Just went back to Steam without further notice. Thankfully the last checkpoint was saved properly, which also included the improvements I made on my character (even the ones I did right before the game crashed).

      1. I'm not sure, if these crashes can be replicated. The first one occurred during the second part of the first boss battle. I died, tried to resurrect and ... Steam OS. Second one occurred on the last dragon statue right before the first boss. I permanently unlocked Snap Kick - Steam OS.

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