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8 video game characters who wish they were Batman

Why so serious?

Perhaps you've got a huge trust fund and nothing to spend it on. Or you've spent your entire life honing your fighting skills, just waiting to use them on some punk who looks at you funny. Maybe your game just straight-up rips off every one of Batman's signature moves. So of course you think you can stand toe-to-toe with the Dark Knight, right? Oh, boy, are you ever so very wrong.

See, it takes more than martial arts training, a boatload of cash, a similar moveset, and a warped sense of justice to even be half as good as The World's Greatest Detective. While we eagerly await the return of the Caped Crusader in his latest adventure in Batman: Arkham Knight (opens in new tab), let's take a look at those heroes who simply wish they could be Batman.

Aiden Pearce (Watch Dogs)

Chicago is one of the most Gotham-like cities in real-life America (heck, it's where Christopher Nolan filmed The Dark Knight), but the hero it gets in Watch Dogs is definitely not the hero it deserves. Sure, Aiden Pearce's got the tragic past, the brooding demeanor, and everyone refers to him as "The Vigilante," but he's a wanna-be of the highest order.

I mean, look at him. It's like he's cosplaying as a walking L.L. Bean catalog, and he spends most of his time with his head buried in his smartphone. At least it's got some decent apps on there, letting him hack the city's technological infrastructure at will. As for his moral compass, it's completely out of wack. One minute he'll beat up a bunch of thugs for human trafficking, the next he's siphoning an old grandmother's pension so he can buy a new coat. Not exactly the kind of guy you'd make a massive toy line for.

Talion (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor)

Talion just lost everyone he knows and loves--along with his own life--and has teamed up with a Wraith to slay every single orc and Uruk in Mordor. And to do it, you'll be copying Batman pretty much every step of the way. Except for the part where you ruthlessly slaughter Orcs for fun, that is.

From attacking to countering, Talion fights almost exactly like Batman does in the Arkham games. Heck, even his daggers are essentially just like chucking Batarangs at your foes. Sure, Talion might be a bit more overtly brutal than Batman (especially with the countless beheadings), but heck, even Batman might give up his "don't kill anyone" policy a good once over if he spent a few minutes behind the Black Gate. Talion may be a copycat, but he's a first rate copycat. And speaking of which...

Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs)

As an undercover cop, Wei Shen is no stranger to the double life. But instead of wearing a cowl and a giant rubber suit, Wei does his best impersonation of himself, folding back into his old life in Hong Kong with his old gangster friends. Occasionally, that means roughing up a fool or two, and of course that means fighting exactly like Batman.

Batman must've opened up a chain of martial arts schools across the world, because Wei's combat style is eerily familiar. Surrounded by foes, Wei performs a ballet of jabs and roundhouse kicks, making sure to counter incoming attacks (complete with a handy button prompt over the attacker's head). Batman doesn't skewer his opponents on meat hooks, though--Wei's a bit of a loose cannon, while Batman is far more calculated and precise in his actions. Plus, it's a bit overkill.

Ezio Auditore (Assassin's Creed II)

It's uncanny how similar Ezio's life is to Bruce Wayne's. A young, wealthy aristocrat (check) whose family is killed off (check), makes his way to a wealthy estate (check) where he trains to combat the forces of evil lurking around every corner (check) while wearing a concealing cloak covered in gadgets (check check check). Substitute beatings for stabbings, and you've essentially got Batman in Renaissance Italy.

Also, Leonardo da Vinci is essentially Alfred. He's an old family friend that oversees your various inventions (though he has a larger hand in actually making them), and he's constantly at your side, bouncing ideas off you and providing advice. All that Mona Lisa and Vitruvian Man stuff were all mere side jobs to his real one: helping Ezio stab jerks in the face.

Cole MacGrath (Infamous)

Cole MacGrath shares a lot more with the Caped Crusader than simply talking like he's been swallowing finely-ground gravel. He's got the tragic backstory (he's a bike messenger-turned-Conduit after being mostly responsible for a massive explosion that wiped out half a city). He has the sense of vigilante justice only a person whose read too many comic books could muster. And his acrobatics have been honed by years of "urban exploration" (read: trespassing). He also spends way too much time getting played.

Spoiler alert: Cole was tricked by his future self into becoming the ultimate weapon. From opening the package that would grant him his powers to being forced to choose who to save (in a sequence almost ripped directly from The Dark Knight), Cole plays into Kessler's (AKA Future-Cole's) hands at every moment. Sure, Batman has his naive moments (especially where the Joker is concerned), but I'd like to think that he could've seen through this time-travel mumbo jumbo from the start. It wouldn't be the first time. (opens in new tab)

Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)

Commander Shepard is basically Space Batman. Don't believe me? He (or she) has a cunning tactical mind, attempting to do right by the various denizens of the galaxy--though he tends to do most of it with laser weapons than his fists. Also, two out of the three possible back stories involve some kind of tragedy, both of which leave Shepard orphaned for a large chunk of his childhood. Sound familiar?

He's also a bit of a renegade (both with a lower-case and capital "R") even when he's trying to be as saintly as possible, much to the galactic law enforcement's dismay. Still, he has his own sense of justice (even if that requires the ends to justify the means), and he's not afraid to punch someone square in the jaw (opens in new tab) if they get out of line; not unlike Bats himself. (opens in new tab)

Garrett (Thief)

Perched up on an outcropping, he drops down on top of his unsuspecting foe, knocking him out in one hit. He sneaks through the shadows, quietly leaving a mass of unconscious bodies in his wake. Sounds like Batman, right? Nope; it's Garrett making his way toward a collection of precious jewels, ripe for the taking.

Garrett was an orphan (just like Batman!), who was raised on the streets and taught at a young age that the ruling government is almost as corrupt as the gangs that control the city. As such, he has a strong sense of personal justice and morals even though he's a thief, going so far as to avoid killing the guards he's sneaking around (well, as long as you don't bungle things up while you're playing). He spends most of his time skulking in the shadows, stealthily knocking out guards, and is armed to the gills with various magical gadgets and arrows. Because of this, he's essentially the Batman of this fantasy-world-meets-Elizabethan-England-infected-by-the-plague.

Robin (Batman: Arkham City)

Now, don't get me wrong; I actually kinda like Robin. But from his first appearance in the comics, to the Adam West-starring TV show, to his run as Nightwing, Robin has always lived in the shadow of the Caped Crusader. And nowhere is this second-string status more obvious than in Batman: Arkham City.

I mean, look at him. He's trying so hard to be like Batman, what with the leather suit and badass demeanor. But everything about Robin--from the mask to the buzz cut to the giant metal pole--screams "PLEASE TAKE ME SERIOUSLY, BATMAN." The best part is when Batman waves him off when he shows up, as if Robin were a child asking questions about a movie that's already halfway through. Don't worry Robin, I'm sure your appearance in Arkham Knight will totally not be relegated to DLC challenge maps.

Be the terror that flaps in the night

Too many people try to act like The Bat, but no one can actually be The Bat, even if these pretenders do give it their best shot. Is there anyone else you feel tries too hard to fill Batman's shoes in their own game? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for more? Check out this list of things Smash Bros. will teach you about Nintendo, (opens in new tab) or this Top 7 list of characters that live inside your head. (opens in new tab)

David Roberts lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two kids. He once had to sell his full copy of EarthBound (complete with box and guide) to some dude in Austria for rent money. And no, he doesn't have an amiibo 'problem', thank you very much.