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Quick Look: Sifu

Jason and Jess kung-fu their way through drug dealers and house squatters in order to extract their ultimate revenge.

Sit back and enjoy as the Giant Bomb team takes an unedited look at the latest video games.

Feb. 11 2022

Cast: Jason, Jess

Posted by: Jason

In This Episode:

Sifu

24 Comments

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permanentsigh

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Edited By permanentsigh

Came for the QL, stayed for the badonk.

Happy Birthday, Jess! 🎂

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dojo cat

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Francium34

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Edited By Francium34

I like the devs and loved absolver, but:

I just hate the amount of Chinese characters side-by-side they paste into the UI.

1. Why?? Some are directly translations of the English, others not?

2. For the ones that are not, the actual Chinese localization don't even use most of them - so clearly they aren't informative

3. Some are also just plain wrong, like the "XP" - pasted with characters meaning "an interesting experience", not the words for "accumulating experience" - this is fixed in the Chinese localization, so they know it's wrong but just didn't fix. Also the popup on the side of "Death" is a word for "falling" never used for death.

4. Environmental text is aggravating to look at. If you put scrolls up on both sides of a door/path/room, they are suppose to pair up in rhyme, not be the same text or just random.

5. I'm pretty sure one of the key symbology in the game (5 characters with 1 at the center) is wrong and different from the in-game text box explanation.

No one would bat an eye if any of the above weren't there (Do you play AC:unity and think there's not enough French in the UI or on the wall?), especially if you can't get them right. I can only conclude that the devs just wanted Chinese characters there to look cool and give players a sense of vaguely Chinese atmosphere. Embarrassing surface-level cultural tourism type shit.

[note I do not critique objects/people/ideas represented in the game, because Chinese-speaking culture is vast, and a piece of art/entertainment should be able to simplify/modify. However the Chinese text issue is just black and white and hard to ignore]

Overall the game is fine, and I hope the devs keep doing good work. But this should definitely be disqualified from "Best style/ Best looking" awards.

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bacongames

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I like the devs and loved absolver, but:

I just hate the amount of Chinese characters side-by-side they paste into the UI.

1. Why?? Some are directly translations of the English, others not?

2. For the ones that are not, the actual Chinese localization don't even use most of them - so clearly they aren't informative

3. Some are also just plain wrong, like the "XP" - pasted with characters meaning "an interesting experience", not the words for "accumulating experience" - this is fixed in the Chinese localization, so they know it's wrong but just didn't fix. Also the popup on the side of "Death" is a word for "falling" never used for death.

4. Environmental text is aggravating to look at. If you put scrolls up on both sides of a door/path/room, they are suppose to pair up in rhyme, not be the same text or just random.

5. I'm pretty sure one of the key symbology in the game (5 characters with 1 at the center) is wrong and different from the in-game text box explanation.

No one would bat an eye if any of the above weren't there (Do you play AC:unity and think there's not enough French in the UI or on the wall?), especially if you can't get them right. I can only conclude that the devs just wanted Chinese characters there to look cool and give players a sense of vaguely Chinese atmosphere. Embarrassing surface-level cultural tourism type shit.

[note I do not critique objects/people/ideas represented in the game, because Chinese-speaking culture is vast, and a piece of art/entertainment should be able to simplify/modify. However the Chinese text issue is just black and white and hard to ignore]

Overall the game is fine, and I hope the devs keep doing good work. But this should definitely be disqualified from "Best style/ Best looking" awards.

I'm glad that this aspect is getting some attention from folks. You might have already read it but if you haven't (and this goes for other folks watching), I highly recommend Khee Hoon Chan's review that dives deep into these issues here: https://www.thegamer.com/sifus-brawler-soulless-caricature-racism/

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csl316

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Finished the game today and I could feel myself becoming a martial arts master. And going out on top after the finale.

Kinda how I felt like a master samurai at the end of Sekiro or Tsushima.

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@bacongames: I'm Chinese and I grew up in Hong Kong, and thought the game was aesthetically very cool and pays homage to many revenge martial arts movies. Knowing that the developers are French I thought one could cut them some slack on getting the nuance of the language perfectly. Frankly the use of the word "racism" here really really muddies the water and dilutes the meaning of the word, people need to chill.

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Francium34

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@blobtronic:I am also Chinese and split time in the US. Different people have varied degrees of reactions, which is normal. I commend the devs for trying [note I didn't use "racism" either], but I keep circling back on 2 thoughts:

1. The Chinese characters in the UI are used for aesthetics/style. They look cool, thematic, and mysterious to the outsider's eyes, but actively worsens the product for anyone who can read it. They are then essentially appropriated for non-Chinese-reading eyes to fetishize. Kind of like (but not as bad as) tattooing google-translated nonsense.

2. I'm not nitpicking certain scenes or minor aspects, this is the game UI, the most non-changing and in-your-face parts of the presentation. Death, XP, and Gameover are probably the most commonly seen UI elements in this entire game, and they are all wrong and distracting to me. The devs can't convince me they truly cared and did all their homework when these mistakes are still around. And again these are unforced errors, AC:Origins didn't do this. Sekiro doesn't even do it this much with their homegrown devs. Without the random Chinese thrown in, the visual style of the game is entire fine. No one asked for this, if you are unsure you'll get it right.

They do it on their official website too. The words used is an adjective, meaning "novel". "News" should be "xinwen" (I see GB is blocking Chinese characters, was this from the Korean spam wars?).But could it be descriptive of the news? Well it is rarely used that way either. And the rest of the section headers appear to be 1:1 translations, even if I think they also made weird choices. These mistakes just make me think "you didn't actually want to put in the work to appreciate and communicate Chinese culture, you just wanted the look" (or maybe "man you really got scammed by some consultant that didn't actually have a grasp of Chinese")

No Caption Provided

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Strathy

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Edited By Strathy

I'll leave cultural criticism to the twitter people. My problem here is that the combat feels extremely loose, mushy and bloated with 'fighting game' style moves that don't gel at all with a 3D multi-opponent environments.

It's reviewed good. But it feels bad. That's just me though.

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Edited By bacongames

@francium34: I mean, there's gobs of problems with orientialism even if it's paved with good intentiones. So yeah it's absolutely fair game to call out whether the representation works when they are marketing themselves on being "authentic." (And thanks for offering your own perspective on it.)

Also this "creator kit" sort of gives the game away (I'm highlighting the quote tweets because they're pretty good) https://twitter.com/Gameonysus/status/1489438187470548997/retweets/with_comments

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Castiel

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But this should definitely be disqualified from "Best style/ Best looking" awards.

Easy now.

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I'm not nitpicking certain scenes or minor aspects, this is the game UI, the most non-changing and in-your-face parts of the presentation.

In my experience, and judging from hundreds of Quick Looks, the UI is actually the most ignored part of any game.

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@strathy said:

I'll leave cultural criticism to the twitter people. My problem here is that the combat feels extremely loose, mushy and bloated with 'fighting game' style moves that don't gel at all with a 3D multi-opponent environments.

It's reviewed good. But it feels bad. That's just me though.

not just you . i gave it a 'try before you buy' go last night , played one run in the first area and uninstalled it . concept is cool but it didn't feel good to play imo

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Edited By theonewhoplays

@taklulas: "Why don't you people just shut up and consume?" I personally can't respect anyone who uses the term 'woke'. Too many terrible people use other people's 'wokeness' as an excuse to act like assholes. Also, making a game like this and not get the Chinese characters right is just embarrassing, and I say that as someone who likes the game.

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@francium34: In regards to the use of the term "racism", I was specifically referring to the article which @bacongames linked. I totally get your point about Chinese characters being added for those who don't read the language, I agree that is distracting for people like you and I, and it can't possible be that difficult to hire someone, or even have one freelancer to have a session or two to correct these kind of mistakes, hell, someone in the Absolver community would probably have corrected it for free for them if they asked nicely.

It could be improved, but it's just not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. I view this as no worse than when my new cheap electronic device coming with abhorrently bad English manual. I just wish people wouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill like they did in said article mentioned earlier in this post.

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@theonewhoplays: Yeah it's possible for something to be good and also hold valid and eve n major criticisms of elements of it. Maybe it's not *as* significant but it's still perfectly valid to address.

Hopefully it's something that can fairly easily be rectified.

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Also feels a while since we've seen a real Jason-ass Jason game.

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Jason, you gotta learn how to abuse the "avoid" move with L1+Left stick down. Its not just for high attacks, it literally avoids everything except sweeps which you use Left Stick+up for. The r2 dodge is only good for escaping.

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This is the same EXACT thumbnail that Nextlander used for their yt vid.

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Edited By cyrribrae

Yes!!! Been hoping to get some more Jason content, and especially Jason/Jess content with Jason talking more than he normally does on bombcast and stuff. Does not disappoint. Nice :D

Nothing wrong with criticizing how culture is portrayed in pop culture. I'm not going to call the devs racist, nor ascribe any maliciousness or evil to them. Sloclap has been using this aesthetic and mystique, and I'll assume it comes from a place of reverence or admiration. They certainly put in the work to get a lot of details right. Which is why I think it's so bad that they whiff so hard on this.

If it were an indie game (it kinda is, but they're now part of Kepler interactive, which just raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and then probably saved a ton on marketing thanks to Sony, so..), then sure, cuts and compromises are expected. But like.. spend years getting the moves and animation perfectly fluid. Neglect a couple weeks to avoid google-translate level errors in the main UI and menu. Well... less than ideal, surely.

The devs may not be racist, but you could argue the situation itself is. There's a long history of creators using a caricature of Asian and Chinese culture/history as a cool backdrop for their stuff. The thing is.. they're right! It is a cool aesthetic haha. Heck, even get crazy with it. NeoSanFranSokyo? Sure! But slap a veneer of "authenticity" on it, and you raise the bar for yourself - one that Sloclap then missed.

The response has been.. well, I'm not sure I've even seen a response. Again, the problem isn't that the devs are evil, but that their choices recall a racist past, don't do much to prevent it now, and may even enable it further it in the future because it emboldens others to do the same. That's a problem, no matter what you call it (but I think there's a case for.. you know.. "systemic racism").

Also asian, if that even matters.

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Like with all rogue like and adjacent games I’m extremely interested in messing around with Cheat Engine or WeMod with this game. Seeing how it reacts to you not dying at all and finishing on the first go

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Edited By theonewhoplays

"Beats the first 4 stages in 6 runs".

-Huh, people sure were exaggerating about this game's difficulty. It's no God Hand, that's for certain.

"6 hours later, lying in the rain, with the final boss mocking my skill and discipline".

-OK, I think I get it now.

Great little game. It feels really good going back and crushing everyone, not because you have leveled up you strength or whatever but because you have gotten better. Apart form the really annoying final boss I think the game has a pretty fair and balanced challenge. I will probably do a complete run so I can level upp my stats (not moves) before the last boss. He ignores most of your abilities anyway.

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This is a great response. Was pretty close to the same response I was going to make around the systemic nature of racism and representation, and am glad that others can echo.

As I recall Austin Walker once saying in a similar context, "fight for feasts, not for table scraps".

From one Asian to another, thanks.

Yes!!! Been hoping to get some more Jason content, and especially Jason/Jess content with Jason talking more than he normally does on bombcast and stuff. Does not disappoint. Nice :D

Nothing wrong with criticizing how culture is portrayed in pop culture. I'm not going to call the devs racist, nor ascribe any maliciousness or evil to them. Sloclap has been using this aesthetic and mystique, and I'll assume it comes from a place of reverence or admiration. They certainly put in the work to get a lot of details right. Which is why I think it's so bad that they whiff so hard on this.

If it were an indie game (it kinda is, but they're now part of Kepler interactive, which just raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and then probably saved a ton on marketing thanks to Sony, so..), then sure, cuts and compromises are expected. But like.. spend years getting the moves and animation perfectly fluid. Neglect a couple weeks to avoid google-translate level errors in the main UI and menu. Well... less than ideal, surely.

The devs may not be racist, but you could argue the situation itself is. There's a long history of creators using a caricature of Asian and Chinese culture/history as a cool backdrop for their stuff. The thing is.. they're right! It is a cool aesthetic haha. Heck, even get crazy with it. NeoSanFranSokyo? Sure! But slap a veneer of "authenticity" on it, and you raise the bar for yourself - one that Sloclap then missed.

The response has been.. well, I'm not sure I've even seen a response. Again, the problem isn't that the devs are evil, but that their choices recall a racist past, don't do much to prevent it now, and may even enable it further it in the future because it emboldens others to do the same. That's a problem, no matter what you call it (but I think there's a case for.. you know.. "systemic racism").

Also asian, if that even matters.

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Edited By mikachops

This looks decent, but seems like it has a lot of the issues I had with Absolver where enemies will just tank certain moves for no obvious reason.

I still love Absolver and am sad no one plays it anymore and this still seems cool, if a little straight forward and smaller in scope comparatively.