Sifu: 'Kuroki The Artist' Boss Guide (Tips, Tricks & Strategies)

Kuroki, or the Artist, is the third boss of Sifu. Taking place in a museum displaying her art, the player must travel through the reality-breaking art show to reach her. She will be found carving in a secluded, snowy area, where the first portion of the fight occurs.

As the name suggests, Kuroki is a well-known artist. According to the player character's detective board, Kuroki is Japanese but was forced into exile for unknown reasons and now lives in China. Throughout the museum level, through its visual storytelling and Detective Board collectibles, the player can piece together that Kuroki killed her twin sister and is still haunted by her actions.

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Armed with a three-section-bladed staff, the first phase of Kuroki's fight is about dodging high and low, recognizing when and how she will attack. The second phase of her fight is about speed, reacting quickly to her rush attacks, flurries, and kunai throws. This guide will go over the best strategies to defeating Sifu's third boss, Kuroki, whether going for the kill or aiming to spare her for Sifu's true ending.

One of the most challenging parts of Kuroki's fight is reacting to her attack patterns. Like Sifu's previous bosses, Sean, Kuroki will try to mix up the player by alternating between high and low attacks. However, unlike Sean, Kuroki's high and low attacks flow into each other much quicker, requiring the player to memorize her attack patterns. There are four patterns the player should look out for. The first is the most basic: Kuroki will swing her bladed staff left then right, followed by two downward swings, finishing with either a leap forward or a retreating flip. This move is one of her slowest and, therefore, one of the easiest to dodge. Because all of the swings in this pattern are high, the player can avoid them all by holding down L1 and pushing the left stick down in time with Kuroki's attacks. Finally, if Kuroki leaps forward, the player can dodge one last time and punish with their own attacks after.

In the second attack pattern, Kuroki will swing her staff rapidly while moving towards the player. If the player gets caught by this attack, they won't be able to do anything until the attack has finished. Because Kuroki is moving towards the players, dodging to the side or dodging back will rarely work. The best way to avoid and punish this attack is by holding L1 and pushing the left stick down quickly and repeatedly. This will allow the player to avoid all the attacks and then punish after. This pattern of dodge and punish is a key strategy to all the bosses, a strategy even recommended by the Sifu's developers to those struggling with the difficulty.

Kuroki's third attack pattern alternates between low and high attacks. She will swing low then high, low then high, and then swing a few more times afterward. The easiest way to avoid and punish this attack is for the player to keep their distance and run in after the last attack. A version of dodging that's a bit more challenging, but one that will better guarantee a punishment, is for the player to dodge the highs and lows and then punish. To avoid high attacks, the player must dodge as they did with the previous patterns: L1 and left stick down. Avoiding low attacks requires the player to hold L1 and push the left stick up. Therefore, the dodge pattern pushes the left stick up, down, up, down. If the player uses the wrong dodge, they will get hit by the attack. After the fourth dodge, the player can punish before Kuroki continues attacking.

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Kuroki's fourth pattern is the most challenging. Like the previous, she alternates between high and low attacks, but in a more difficult order. Kuroki will open with a high attack and then swing low, low, high, and low, all within a beautiful display of martial arts choreography in Sifu. In addition to the order, there is a challenge in identifying if she is using the high-low-low-high-low pattern or the low-high-low-high pattern. Mistaking one for the other can lead to the player getting hit. The best way for the player to avoid this mistake is by keeping their distance and noticing if the first attack is high or low. If the attack is low, it will be the low-high-low-high pattern. If the attack is high, it will be the high-low-low-high-low pattern. Keeping their distance will give the player enough time to react accordingly. The player also does not need to dodge the whole string of attacks to punish Kuroki. So long as they dodge the last attack, they will have an opening.

With enough punishes, Kuroki will move on to her second phase for more of Sifu's exciting brawling. In phase two, she will have a completely new move set the player must learn. Here, the player needs to look out for three moves. The first is Kuroki's flurry. With her kunai, she will swipe at the player with a string of five attacks, ending with a double slash. Like before, the player can dodge all these attacks with L1/left stick down and punish after the fifth attack. If the player doesn't punish, Kuroki will jump in the air and try to kick the player. This will knock the player back and damage the player's health or structure. The player can dodge this with L1/left stick down as well, but they can also dodge to the side with R2 if they wish to be safer. The player can punish after the kick as well.

The second pattern is Kuroki's kunai throws. Kuroki will throw kunai at the player in two ways: one will have Kuroki jump and throw out a wave of kunai, and the other will have Kuroki stand in place and throw two or three kunai at the player individually. The player can dodge all kunai attacks with L1/left stick down, but there is another strategy the player can utilize. If they have the weapon catch skill unlocked, whether as one of Sifu's permanent upgrades or temporary, the player can press L1 right before a kunai will hit them to catch it. The player can then throw the kunai at Kuroki. This can be useful to continue pressuring damage, but it can also be used to stagger her, leaving her open for attacks.

The final attack pattern is Kuroki's rush attack. She will be far away from the player, then rush forward and slice at them with her kunai. There are two variations to this attack: in the first, she will stand in place then rush forward; in the second, she will move left and right before rushing forward. The player will know when she will attack when they see the shine. The rush can be dodged with L1/left stick down and then punished just as before.

Punishing will allow the player to take her down fairly easily. However, if the player wishes to spare Kuroki, they will need to play a little more dangerously to ensure her structure is broken before her health is depleted. If a boss's health is depleted during the second phase, the player will automatically kill them. To spare a boss, they need to break the boss's structure twice and then choose the 'Spare' dialogue option. The best way to ensure this is by using parries. Parries will impact the enemy's structure without affecting their health. This impact is even significant if the player has claimed the Parry Impact reward from shrines scattered throughout Sifu. The best attacks to parry are Kuroki's flurry and rush attacks. Her flurry is slow enough that the player can consistently parry all five attacks. If they use parries, the player should be extra careful of the ensuing kick, as it will more likely break the player's structure. The rush attack is well telegraphed, making it an easier attack to parry. Whichever ending the player is aiming for, with good dodges, punishes, catches, and parries, they will be able to take Kuroki down with ease.

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Sifu is currently available for PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.

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