Sifu: Controls Guide for PS4 & PS5 and Tips for Beginners

Here's your controls guide and tips for beginner's for the difficult yet rewarding kung fu game Sifu.


Sloclap’s newest game Sifu has released to much fanfare after hyping the kung fu game’s unique aging and retry process. The game, marketed as difficult and embodying the kung fu concept of endless self-improvement, hits both marks.

Below, you will find complete controls for Sifu, including tips for beginners. The button layout will take a bit of time to adjust to, but you do have the ability to remap controls.


Sifu PS4 and PS5 Basic controls list

  • Move: L
  • Camera: R
  • Dodge: R2
  • Deflect (Parry): L1 (timed)
  • Dash: R2 (hold)
  • Guard: L1 (hold)
  • Focus: L2 (hold)
  • Light Attack: Square
  • Heavy Attack: Triangle
  • Pick Up Weapon: Circle
  • Interact: X
  • Vault and Climb: X (when prompted)
  • Attack Downed Opponent: Circle (hold, when prompted)
  • Dialogue Options 1, 2, 3: D-Pad Left, D-Pad Up, D-Pad Right
  • Enter Photomode: D-Pad Down

Sifu PS4 and PS5 Advanced controls list

  • Takedown: Circle + Triangle
  • Directional Throw: Square + X
  • Throw Weapon: R1 (when holding a weapon)
  • Choose Vital Point: R (when engaged in Focus)
  • Launch Focus Attack: R2 (when engaged in Focus)

Now that you know the controls, read below for some tips to advance through the first level with as few deaths as possible.

Use Training as many times as necessary in Sifu

Training mode is accessed by pressing X at the Wing Chun wooden dummy.

After playing the prologue of eight years prior and selecting your character, you’ll be shown in the same house where the events of the prologue took place. Here, to access Training, hit X at the Wing Chun wooden dummy in the main room.

You can set the A.I. to either Aggressive or Passive. This is a great place to test out combos in the commands list, particularly when the A.I. is set to Passive. Even better, setting the AI to Aggressive will force you to learn the basic pattern of attacks of most enemies. This will also help you time your Deflects (Parries) and Dodges. You can reset the A.I. by hitting D-Pad Up, which will default it to Passive. Finish by holding X.

Once you progress in the game and invest experience points into the Skill Tree, come back to Training to test them out before heading onto the next stage. If a particular combo is giving you trouble, or you’re struggling with the timing on Deflections, Training is the best place to master those. Note that no trophies will pop in Training.


Remember, endless self-learning is the ethos that drives the game – aside from revenge.

Do not button mash in Sifu!

A scene reminiscent of Oldboy, the close quarters require judicious use of moves rather than button mashing.

Like with most advanced fighting and action games, button mashing will get you nowhere but quick and unnecessary deaths. This is why Training is so important!

The game has similar battle mechanics to Sleeping Dogs. However, Sifu is a bit more unforgiving in battle. You will be attacked by multiple enemies at a time rather than just have a group circle you and wait one after the other (though this does happen), they’re very likely to carry weapons, and only very few attacks will stop an enemy mid-attack. You could very well dodge into another enemy’s attack, or have a bottle or brick thrown at you from the corner of the screen.


It’s best to try and target one enemy at a time, landing a Light Attack four- or five-hit combo, then leaping away. Most enemies will wind up their attack, so hitting L1 to Deflect right when they ready their attack is too early; wait until they swing! Enemies with weapons should be Dodged with R2 and struck until they drop the weapon.

Landing a takedown with a pipe with deadly efficiency.

You can also pick up a variety of weapons in Sifu by pressing Circle when next to an weapon. You can grab a bottle to shatter over someone’s head, a brick, a bat, and even a lead pipe. All weapons are also throwable and while you may lose the weapon (which is still retrievable unless durability exceeded capacity with the throw), it will stun most enemies.

Once an enemy has sustained enough damage, you’ll see an icon appear on them with Triangle + Circle. Hit these together to perform a final Takedown of the enemy, sometimes using the environment near you or the weapon in your hand. Luckily, you won’t be attacked when performing these Takedowns. If you have a weapon, then the Takedown will land with wicked effect.

So again, avoid button mashing and be disciplined in your approach.

How Structure works in Sifu

Aside from your HP, the other meter to be aware of while playing is your Structure bar. This is located at the bottom. If your Structure breaks you’ll be vulnerable to attacks.

The Structure meter is affected every time you are hit. Deflecting or Parrying with L1 will not only prevent any damage, but will not affect your Structure meter. Dodging with R2 will recharge a slight amount of your Structure.

Enemies also have Structure. To break their Structure, not only can you strike them with attacks, but also by Deflecting attacks with a timed L1. Once their structure is broken, they’ll be open to attacks. Usually, this means they’re open for a Takedown (Triangle + Circle).

Note that enemies with a glowing aura are under the influence of drugs and more difficult to break their Structure.

How the Pendant and aging system work in Sifu

You begin with five rebirths, but you’re also able to reset your death counter in multiple ways.

Sifu has a unique retry system that focuses on death and rebirth. If your HP hits zero, you will die. You will be brought to the above screen where you can invest your experience into Skills and rise from the dead (hold Square). This will take one of the coins, though you can reset the death counter to zero in multiple ways. However, your age will not reset even if the death counter is reset to zero.

Once you die and rise, the number of the death is added to your age. For example, if your death counter is at three and you’re 25, you’ll be 28 upon rising. To reset your death counter, you can defeat opponents upon rising. The other way is to access the upgrade statues throughout the levels and, with one thousand experience, reset the death counter.

As you age, there are certain effects. Once you enter a new decade of age, your attack power will go up, but your health decreases. You trade offense for health, which makes sense if you think about applying teaching as you get older. You’ll also get more wrinkles and start greying in the hair (facial hair as well if you’re a man).

Should you expend all your rebirth coins and suffer a game over, or you decide to give up, then a few things happen that will affect future gameplay.

You will be able to replay every level you’ve unlocked from the youngest age you were when you reached the level. For example, since you begin the first level at age 20, you should always start at age 20. However, if the youngest age you were to beat the first level was 36, then you’ll always restart the second level from age 36.

Further, all skills unlocked will be lost. You can permanently unlock most upgrades by pouring in 500 experience at least five times. On the positive side, every hint and clue you’ve unlocked on the Detective Board will remain unlocked.

Sifu will be frustrating and will take your patience. Use the above tips to help you progress and remember to be observant and notice the pattern of attacks!


Bruce L

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