Diddy Kong Is My Favorite Thing About Smash 4
Yeah that’s right, I said it. Flying in the face of conventional opinions regarding Diddy Kong and his power as a character, I’m going to lay out why Diddy makes Smash 4 a far more enjoyable experience for me than if he were absent/weaker.
To explain why, we first have to go through what makes a capable character in the first place. See there are two ways which this could go:
1- The character has a single absurdly powerful tactic or gimmick that invalidates all other characters, as well as making the other options that the character itself has meaningless. The character is incredibly strong due to only one factor, making them boring, stale, and degenerative to overall gameplay. Not only are they extremely powerful, they’re flat out lame.
2- The character has options for almost any given situation, and usually has a defining trait that sits at the heart of their gameplay. While their main asset is powerful, it doesn’t grant them a free win, and due to the knowledge of this tactic/ability that the opponent will have, the character will need to maximize use of its toolset to find success. With a varied toolset comes multiple strategies and, ultimately, more layers of strategic depth.
Many players would lump Diddy Kong in category 1, yet I would completely disagree, considering him to be a category 2 character. Beyond just wanting to win, there’s a reason many top players gravitate towards high tier characters from the get go: they can do more things, and being able to do lots of things equals more fun. Diddy’s most defining trait is his dthrow combo ability, known as the Hoo Hah, a move that can reliably rack up damage and score KOs at pretty low percent for a Smash 4 character. Grab combos and grab kill setups have always been a part of Smash, and not even limited to the best character in each respective game. On top of that fact, the combo can be DI’d out of at kill percentages anyway.
It comes down to the age old mantra of not getting grabbed, except in Smash 4 I will admit that the fact that a large portion of play revolves around out of shield options, a character with a strong grab game is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the upper echelon of characters. Strong grab game, safe aerials on shield, these are basically the two traits that make a top tier character in this game. I suppose the question I really want to ask is, isn’t it sort of concerning that a character is considered overpowered merely because access to several options, some of which are safe on shield? Being able to actually do stuff makes you overpowered now? Jeez. I think the sad part is (something which I will say now is actually remedied by customs), is that the vast majority of the cast is underpowered.
“What good is an aerial…. If you are unable to use it?”
That might seem a strange concept, and you’re probably thinking, “only a few characters are at a certain level, surely that makes them overpowered for the environment”. The thing is, in this case it’s an environment filled with characters who have an extremely limited number of safe options in neutral, coupled with an inability to punish as hard as one would like. Who are the characters that can actually do thone things though? Exactly, and quite frankly I don’t think having those traits is unreasonable in terms of design, it’s always been the hallmark of a good Smash character. Diddy isn’t Brawl Meta Knight, charactarized by being a god at essentially everything, rendering an entire cast obsolete (although I was always against Meta Knight bans and actively fought against the pro-ban side, but that’s a different story that no longer really matters).
An absolute classic from the early Brawl days by DJBrowny, and is still essentially true.
My wish for Smash 4 isn’t the weakening of Diddy, it’s the strengthening of the cast as a whole, (and adding some shieldstun but whatever that’s not going to happen). Diddy is great fun to play as (and play against if you use a good character), the way you can mix up your play, pressure, and bewilder your opponents is something I’ve come to enjoy very much in Smash 4, and I’m praying that a patch doesn’t ruin the character. So moving onto my final point…
Customs are annoyingly implemented. No, scratch that, they’re horrendously implemented. Their RNG nature, and the fact that you can get duplicates of previously obtained customs just makes them a chore to unlock, a prohibitively long chore. To be honest, I don’t think they should even need any sort of unlocking at all, but I can see the idea behind why they are unlockable, except the criteria are essentially undefined, leaving you at the total mercy of the game. Unfortunately though, customs also happen to open the game up a lot more for a good number of the cast, providing them with some interesting and legitimately usable options. I wouldn’t say customs suddenly make everyone on par with Diddy, I’d say his top tier status is still safe due to him being a fundamentally excellent character, but it gives more characters the chance to truly compete. Hopefully in the future there will be an easily accessible method for everyone to just unlock all customs on their Wii U, because honestly I can’t argue against the logistics issue of standardizing customs. Maybe we should just hound Nintendo for an all customs DLC, who knows.
“All aboard the customs train!”
Diddy is great, he is actually fun and you should try him out. Also, if you’re going to ask for customs never to be standard, then cry in 2 years about the irrelevance of your character and how every top 16 is 90% Diddy/Sheik, then you had it coming.
As a reward for reading until the very end, I am gifting you with the transparent version of Diddy Montana.
Until next time!