The best PS5 game you (probably) never played is free on PlayStation Plus right now

Sifu screen capture
(Image credit: Sloclap)

The PlayStation Plus monthly games for March 2024 are now available for download, and this month’s selection includes an often overlooked action game that makes the cut in our roundup of the best PS5 games you can play. 

As confirmed on PlayStation Blog, PlayStation Plus subscribers at any tier level can access four free games in March:  EA Sports F1 23, Hello Neighbor 2, Destiny 2: Witch Queen and, most excitingly, Sifu

It’s the latter game that I strongly advise you download first — unless you’re a huge Formula 1 fan — as it’s one of the most rewarding PS5 games I’ve ever played.  

To claim the PlayStation Plus monthly games, just head over to the PlayStation Store and click “add to library” on each game’s dedicated store page. Remember, these games are available to subscribers on the Essential, Extra and Premium tiers, and once claimed are yours to keep so long as your subscription remains valid. 

Sifu is a must-play on PlayStation Plus 

Sifu screen capture

(Image credit: Sloclap)

Released in 2022, Sifu casts you as a young martial artist student who witnesses the brutal murder of their father and teacher at the hands of a disgraced former student and his four accomplices. Swearing revenge, the protagonist — who can be either male or female — spends the next few years training for a revenge-fuelled mission. 

Your goal is to eliminate the five people responsible for your father’s death, but to get to each of your targets you’ll first have to face a gauntlet of enemies and mini-bosses before squaring off against the boss. As the name suggests, combat is melee-focused, with a style inspired by Bak Mei kung fu. You’ll start with a set of basic moves but as you progress further you can unlock more advanced techniques and devastating combos. 

Sifu puts up a fight from the very start. Even early combat encounters against base-level enemies are demanding, and if you want to survive the late-game battles (and defeat the five bosses) then you’ll need to dedicate yourself to learning precise move sets and mastering the game’s structure system, which lets you break through an enemy’s defensive guard and open them up for serious punishment. 

Sifu screengrab

(Image credit: Sloclap)

You might find your first couple of hours with Sifu a little frustrating as you’re knocked down frequently, and struggle to leave a mark on enemies. However, with a little patience, and some time spent in the game’s useful training room, eventually you’ll sharpen your skills, and soon enough sections that seemed downright impossible at first will become a breeze. Because progress is primarily tied to each player’s increasing skill rather than a level or loot system, Sifu is highly rewarding. 

If Sifu just offered a compelling revenge tale and seriously satisfying combat, it would be a great game, but what kicks it up another level is its unique aging mechanic. Essentially, every time you die, you’ll immediately respawn where you fell, but your character will have aged a little bit. You start at age 20, and once you hit a certain threshold (above 70 years old), you’ll kick the bucket for the final time and must start again. 

Sifu screenshot

(Image credit: Slocap)

This nifty structure ensures that every death has a consequence. You can’t just brute-force your way through the game. If you're careless, you’ll age too rapidly and won't have enough years left to reach the very end. However, this progression system can be very punishing, especially if the combat doesn’t quite click with you, so there is an option to reduce the difficulty, which makes the game significantly easier, and will allow most players to complete the game without much resistance. 

Sifu also packs an appealing watercolor-like visual style and some of the best animation work you’ll find in any PS5 game. Plus, developer Sloclap has done an excellent job supporting the game with new content over the last two years adding new outfits, a scoring system for leader board chasers and an arena mode that is perfect for dedicated players wanting to test their combat mastery.

If you're looking for a game that will make you feel like a martial arts master — or at least will after you’ve put in a few hours of training — then Sifu is a truly essential experience. And its inclusion in the PlayStation Plus monthly games lineup should expose this often overlooked PS5 gem to even more players. Just be sure to read my Sifu tips before you start playing, as you might need a little help getting started. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.