Sifu developers decided to integrate easy mode. And that’s great news for those who found the game too difficult to access.
The first time I played Sifu, I felt like I had hit a real wall. Although I’m used to demanding games (Elden Ring, Dark Souls, Cuphead and even Ninja Gaiden), I couldn’t get past the second chapter of this kung fu video game developed by Sloclap. In the end, I came to the conclusion that the gameplay, reminiscent of the technicality of fighting games with a very important place left to the sense of timing, was simply not for me.
And then the studio announced the launch of Easy Mode, an initiative that I have regretted on other occasions (like Returnal) – much more due to misplaced pride. On May 3, 2022, Shifu welcomed an update that added three difficulty options: Apprentice, Apprentice, and Master. The intermediate level corresponds to the basic experience, and the Master offers a very difficult task for the more experienced. I immediately restarted the adventure as a Student, which allows me to appreciate Sifu much more.
Scene in Sifu. // Sloclap
Sifu’s easy mode is an honest challenge
“Low difficulty is for players who want a more indulgent, yet still fulfilling experience,” we can read in the description before the game launches. Suffice it to say that Sloclap doesn’t want to betray Shifa either. Student Mode is definitely more accessible, but retains all of the gameplay aspects that make it a skill-intensive game. Because if the enemies are less aggressive, you need to learn how to parry attacks at the right time so as not to cling to game overs. This is even more true of the bosses, which each have two phases to complete. In short, we must remain vigilant and, in fact, Sifu will never be a walk in the park.
Another thing that bothered me when starting Sifu was the old age mechanic. When the bar of life comes to naught under the weight of the blows of the enemy, we have the opportunity to rise again, accepting old age. Typically, old age is indexed by the number of accumulated deaths. You win a year after the first death, then two, then three…until you quickly become an old man and can no longer continue. In The Apprentice, the exponential nature disappears: when you die, you only age one year at a time. This change makes losing streaks much less punishable.
Controller in hand, this lighter shifu proves to be much more relaxing and we have to applaud Sloclap for reaching out to those who, like me, have fallen to the bone and would like to be able to discover other qualities of shifu (chiseled gameplay , globally successful atmosphere). This may give ideas to other studios, sometimes distinguished by their tendency to come up with games that are too complex for the general public. Moreover, in the case of shifu, the problem remains relevant. It’s just a little more fair and less discouraging.
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