Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the latest Ubisoft murder tourism sim, is a massive game. It’s brimming with intriguing activities and brief vignettes, many of which go places big-budget action games tend not to. For instance: Tucked away in one of Valhalla’s early areas, you may even find an amusing reference to a popular anime and manga series.
Spoilers follow for one of the World Events—brief, bespoke side-quests—in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
In the heart of Grantebridgescire, due south of the Stour but north of Walden, you’ll meet an old warrior dubbed The Walloper. Make no mistake: The Walloper is a reference to Saitama, the One-Punch Man of One-Punch Man, a part-time hero who can take out any foe with just one punch. This being a video game, you fight him. You can see how such matches typically play out in the video below, by my colleague Mike Pasquariello, at the 2:00 mark:
That’s One-Punch Man! From the bald head to the palpable nonchalance to the fact that two bystanders wouldn’t shut up about his spotless boxing record, I picked up instantly. And then there’s this: If the Walloper punches you once, you’re done for. He doesn’t even have to land any consecutive normal punches. (One shudders to think what would happen were he to bust out the Serious Series: Serious Punch.) Reiterating: That’s One-Punch Man.
But every One-Punch Man fan knows that an atomic right hook isn’t what defines Saitama. Sure, he’s the most powerful being in existence, but he’s also just a regular guy. Taking out villains in one hit was cool at first. Then it became boring, monotonous, just another day in the life. Without a fair challenge, what’s the point? Where’s the thrill?
The Walloper faces the same quandary: No one can beat him. He can beat anyone instantly. He’s bored, and bemoans this uneventful life the fates have assigned him. “A banal victory for me and my wallop,” he’ll say, with a sigh, when he knocks you out in seconds. “Still unbeaten. Why god? Come back if you want another taste of my endless victory.”
I’ll square with you: I haven’t been able to defeat the Walloper. So long as you’re properly leveled and don’t come across a Daughter of Lerion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla isn’t a terribly punishing game (at least on Vikingr difficulty). But something about fisticuffs in this game trips me up. Against a guy with a one-hit punch, I—like Boros and Mosquito Girl and Deep Sea King and Orochi and Gouketsu before me—am no match.
Now, the reference isn’t spot-on. Saitama put himself through an inhuman regimen—100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, and 100 squats, followed by a 10k jog, every single day—to achieve his godlike power. In exchange for limitless strength, he lost all his hair. The Walloper is bald, yes, but he has a scraggly beard. Not exactly canon.
Saitama also wears a yellow spandex jumpsuit, but it is my understanding that such fashion did not exist in 9th-century England. All things considered, the Walloper’s orange robes are close enough.
I’m about 25 hours into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and have completed just three of the game’s dozen or so areas. Stumbling upon a reference to One-Punch Man was an unexpected delight. I can’t wait to discover what the rest of the game holds.