Happy Wednesday, friends. This week’s Community Review might be a more serious one, but it’s a conversation we should look at meaningfully.
Last week saw the release of Sifu, a martial arts action game with roguelike elements from French developer Sloclap. The game was immediately lauded by a great many outlets for its kinetic and combo-driven approach to combat, its steep challenge, and its novel age-to-power mechanic. The PS5 version holds an equal critic and user score, an 80 from critics and 8.0 from users. I can’t remember the last time I saw complete consensus on Metacritic.
Sifu was quite fairly taken to task by Asian communities in games for its haphazard implementation of Chinese languages and cultural touchstones. In their review for The Gamer, Khee Hoon Chan called the game “a soulless caricature”. The review followed a report in January, also by Chan, that pointed out no one on the Sifu development team was actually Asian. Even the real-world martial arts specialist the team turned to when researching for the game, Ben Colussi, is white.
That said, not every Asian voice who reviewed the game found it lacking. Gene Park from the Washington Post quite liked the Sifu, particularly its “firecracker” of an introduction. Henry Yu at Gaming Nexus also found a lot to like.
Ultimately, though it’s generally agreed that Sifu‘s attempts at recreating Asian culture were clumsy, it seems like the broader response was largely positive. To have a Metacritic score so perfectly aligned is an event rare enough to warrant printing a screenshot and having it framed.
So, that’s what the internet thought. How about you? Let us know your thoughts on Sifu in the comments below. A humble request: Keep the discussion clean, and keep it civil. We’re grown-ups here. Let’s act like it.