The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Game x Game

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/11/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,107 times Debate No: 30140
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




In this debate, the con shall choose one of his favorite games and try to convince his game is better than mine, at the same time I will be trying to convince that mine is better.
My chosen game is:
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (for PC)

Note: MODS or DLCs aren't going to be allowed to take part in this debate, we are judging which game is better on their original version, with nothing additional.

(this first round is only acceptance)


Sounds like fun!

My chosen game: Half Life 2 (for PC)
Since both games were released in the same year, it seems more fair to compare these two rather than say a more recent game like Dead Space 3 to GTA:SA.

Are we comparing them on the merits of the games independant of society or do you want to compare them in a social context as well.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting!

Well, I think it's up to you if you want to compare them in a social context as well. But in my opinion, social contexts aren't totally relevant for the decision of which game is the best. But just as I said, if you want to judge them in a social context too, feel free to add it on your reply.

Though I wouldn't mind comparing my game to a recent game, Half Life 2 vs GTA San Andrea seems great.

Very well, for the main aspects, I will use the same used in the IGN method to choose a game score, which I find it very good: Presentation, Graphics, Sound, Gameplay and Lasting Appeal, if there are any aspects you want to add or change if you think it's better, feel free to do so in your reply.

(1) Presentation: GTA:SA atmosphere is very accurate on showing how it was like in the 1990s.

(2) Graphics: On textures, Half Life 2 is better; but that's not the only aspect to take into account, I would say that GTA:SA has a more beautiful world.

(3) Sound: I think it's quite a tie on SFX, HL2 has better sounds but we cannot forget the fact that GTA:SA has a bigger number of sounds and they work as well. On soundtracks, I would say that GTA:SA wins, it has many enjoyable songs from the 90s-era, and some remarkable ones such as "It Was a Good Day" from Ice Cube.

(4) Gameplay: San Andreas is open world, and it's gameplay is very challenging, specially on the campaing. The campaing also gets rewarding many times since the campaing is the key to unlocking activities and minigames.

(5) Lasting appeal: GTA:SA is not only open world, but it also has a huge number of things to do: racing, vehicle side missions, collectables, upgrading skills, dating, many air/water/ground vehicles, getting pursued by the police (never gets old), and other less important things such as burglarizing. Not to mention the campaing is already pretty long.


My thanks to the Pro for, well, proprosing this debate. I hope we can have a ton of fun with this topic.

Social context would probably be too tangential but I'll reserve that for later if needed.

Using IGN's method is a decent one, though I think the general categories are up for interpretation so I'll be trying to clarify what they mean as we go along.

But first, it's curious that you choose to use IGN's criteria as they gave Half Life 2 a number of awards and runner-up positions in 2004; Best First Person Shooter, Best Graphics, Best Use of Sound Runner up and Reader's Choice, Best Story Runner Up and Reader's Choice and also PC Game of the Year. (3 Best of awards and 2 Runner up awards)

San Andreas, 3 Best of awards and 1 runner up award.

On balance, though they didn't compete against eachother directly as GTA:SA was primarially a PS2 game, HL2 recieved more runner up awards. On that basis, HL2 is superior.

To respond to the five aspects:
1. Presentation: I'm not sure if the atmosphere is accurate when whatever serious topics are mentioned in the game are made into a joke, such as the treatment of junkies in the game. On the other hand HL2's fictional dystopian future is highly appealing, has a full universe and has thematic presentation that is consistant through the game.

2. Graphics: HL2 has a significant edge in this arena; while my opponent says that GTA:SA is a more "beautiful world", which is higly subjective and my opponent doesn't really provide any proof to support such a statement, HL2 uses advanced physics engines, lighting & water algorithyms to create a more immersive & real life experience. For comparison, see the two trailer videos below:

3. Sound: Whle I would agree that both tie on sound effects, HL2 has the edge in terms of soundtrack. Not only is the music composed for the game instead of borrowing popular songs but the soundtracks are specific to different envirnments and situations adding to the emotional connection of the game to the player.

4. Gameplay: Having an open world doesn't automaticlly make a game better. Sure it gives you the chance to mess around but that detracts from the gaming experience in my opinnion since you're doing activities that don't contribute to the story development. On the other hand, HL2 incorporates puzzle solving into the FPS adventure genre, gives you environmental control with the Gravity Gun and has a large variety of environments to experience that change as you revisit them. The GTA:SA world is static, has only a few environments that you largely cannot interract with.

5. Lasting Appeal: The only thing that sets appart GTA:SA from HL2 is the sheer number of activities that you can do. After those are said and done, theres nothing. However, I would argue that the storyline of HL2 is far superior and creates a lasting fan base.
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks again too, I hope we have fun as well.

I acknowledge that IGN gave more awards to Half Life 2 than to GTA:SA, however, at the same time, GTA:SA received a 9.9/10 from IGN, while HL2 received a 9.7/10. And, there was also another great PS2 game at that year (2004), Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Ergo, that basis end up being not so fair to decide which game is better; MGS3 wasn't released for PC.

1. Presentation: I believe that what you said is only a small detail near the great design of the cities, vehicles, weapons just as the songs are from the same era. I would say that San Andreas atmosphere is appealing as well and remains catchy, it's story is also very funny and unpredictable.

2. Graphics: I don't have much to say about the graphics, HL2 does have better graphics overally.
I don't know if my following argument is 100% legitimate; but when the Half Life 2 world is mostly on the gray color, I would say that San Andreas is better artistically, as it has a bigger and better exploration of colors.

3. Sound: On GTA:SA, shootouts can happen at any time, just as vehicle chases or explosions. So I would say that there is no need for playing an epic battle song when one of these occasions happen, because there are so many that they become common, you can say San Andreas has copied songs, but does it matter? Most of them are very good, and they also strengthen the atmosphere as they are from the 90's.

4. Gameplay: Indeed, there are linear games that are better than open world games, however, open world games gives the player a lot more freedom than linear games. I would say that the open world games will expand the game experience more than detract it.
The world of GTA San Andreas is indeed static as you say, but I wouldn't expect it to be changing a lot when it is not a puzzler game nor a linear game. I would say that it is pretty much harder to dislike a game that has a very varied gameplay. And the San Andreas campaign is totally varied on it's missions, they can be from infiltrating on a mansion stealthy and stealing a rhyme book (Madd Dogg's Rhymes), to getting on a motorcycle and rushing to get inside a plane that is taking off (Stowaway). While being varied, all those missions are challenging and rewarding as well. Challenging for not allowing you to win on the first attempt, and rewarding for giving you things such as cash/better stats/new activities.

5. Lasting Appeal: Well, the con states that there will be nothing to do when you complete all of the activities in GTA:SA, literally he is right; but the only difference is that it would take hundreds of hours to complete them all in case we are talking about completing the game "100%", while it would take a lot less time to complete Half Life 2, this is what lasting appeal is all about. I know another game franchise that has a lasting fan base too, it's name is Call of Duty, it's fans buy it every year. However, does it means that Modern Warfare 3, for example, is lasting?


I'm starting to feel like a real nerd in this debate, ha.

To continue in the vein of comparing overall scores lets consider a couple other sources, IGN isn't the end-all of game reviews after all. Metacritic gave HL2 (PC) 96/100 and GTA:SA (PC) 93/100. Gamespot gave HL2 9.2/10 and GTA:SA 9.0/10. G4 gave HL2 5/5 and GTA:SA 3/5. Gamesradar gave HL2 4.5/5 and GTA:sa 5/5. CNet gave HL2 4.5/5 and GTA:SA (PC) 4.5/5. While there are several other sources, these give us a general picture of how the review industry responded to the games which shows a slight edge in favor of Half Life 2. When comparing the raw scores Half Life 2 still has the lead.

I don't think that Metal Gear Solid 3 had much to do with competing with San Andreas for awards, the only award they were close to competing for was in Use of Sound, which GTA:SA took over MGS3. On the other hand, HL2 as competing with Rome: Total War and Tribes: Vengeance, both of which snatched awards from HL2.

1. Presentation: I'll give you that the city design was impressive, however the weapons design and combat system itself was sub-par at best. Funny story? Yes. Completely predictable however, I found myself saying what the characters were going to do several scenes before they did several times. While HL2 may also be predictable, the development of the story was excellent and had several very emotional moments.

2. Graphics: Actually the use of gray color was mostly related to the Combine dictatorship, when not in their facilities the game is very vibrant.

3. Sound: It's not all about having an epic battle song playing, the use of music during suspenseful and emotional parts of the story is key and an area where the Valve team triumphs.

4. Gameplay: The problem with static open worlds is that there's no personal investment of the gamer, no change that you can see your actions having on the world. Instead, it becomes akin to XP and gold farming in games like WoW. The difference being that whenever a goal is accomplished it should do more than pumping up your character, it should develop the world and the story. This is where many open world games fall into a trap. I mean really, how many times are you going to shoot the hooker you just hired before the other ladies start catching on? Plus I don't really see how breaking into houses repeatedly is much fun.

5. Lasting Appeal: The Pro misunderstands what lasting appeal is; it's not the number of game hours you can play, it is the desire to replay the game and share it with friends family - hell your kids even - because you consider it a classic. In the same way that the Rolling Stones are classic, so should a game that has lasting appeal. If you want to mince fan bases, consider that Rockstar comes out with a new take on open world gang games every year or so. There's 14 games in the series since 1997. Its all about churning out a look-alike because Rockstar knows that they will lose their audience otherwise. Thats not a classic.
Debate Round No. 3


Everything you said about the ratings is true, but I don't think the one with the best rating is the best one, I mean, GTA:SA and HL2 are completely different games with completely different engines.

1. Presentation: I will say that it depends on how you will review the GTA:SA story; it wasn't supposed to be emotional or anything, it was supposed to be catchy and fun, as it will give the player many different experiences.

2. Graphics: Yes, but I think GTA:SA used the colors in a slight better way, as the sun feels different when you are in San Fierro or Las Venturas, just as there are many beautiful locations such as Palomino Creek or Santa Maria beach.

3. Sound: Again, it is a difference of public, the story of GTA:SA isn't supposed to have emotional or key parts, it is mostly based on being fun, and by that, the soundtracks fit it as well.

4. Gameplay: This is what makes open world games awesome, you have the freedom to do whatever you want, it is more about subjectivity, you don't end up changing the world anytime, and, who said that changing the world is aways good? If the player is satisfied with exploring the world, unlocking new things for his character just as discovering new things, there is nothing wrong with it. On linear games, you will also end up doing the same thing when you get on the same part in another playthrough. But on open world games, you don't have to do certain things when you don't want to. I will that I'm very happy for the fact that there are many games that are subjective and give the player freedom; books, movies and TV shows aren't able to give the same thing. Open world games lets you live in a different world, and they are a lot more than what the Con is saying if you are going to play them for fun. Half Life 3 is actually going to be open world.

5. Lasting Appeal: I'm not misunderstanding what lasting appeal is all about, the pro is basically saying that the only lasting games are our favorite one's. Like lasting appeal is the final product from the sum of presentation, graphics, sound and gameplay; then why it even exists? Lasting appeal is the judgement of the amount of modes and things to do in the game and how much time they will last, while gameplay, on the other hand, will judge the quality of these things. If lasting appeal is the way he says it is, then there would be no difference between a game that lasts 6 hours and another that lasts 100 if both are your favorites.
Since GTA San Andreas has more things to do than many of today's open world games, I will say that it is extremely lasting, liking it or not it will take a lot of time to feel that you've really completed the game 100%. If it is a classic to someone, that person will also want to replay it just as if HL2 was a classic to them. I would say that it is irrelevant to check the number of games that Rockstar have released over the past 16 years, what matters is GTA San Andreas.


"...GTA:SA and HL2 are completely different games with completely different engines."
So then there's no basis to compare games of different styles with different engines? This is obviously false and at the point where we accept this statement this debate becomes pointless because we can't compare games at all. Ratings still matter and show HL2 is better. In addition, the dropped argument about awards recieved (and should have been recieved) still demonstrates HL2's superiority.

1. Presentation: Different experiences doesn't make a game, nor does it make a story. At the end of the day, GTA:SA is equvalent to a cheap thriller novel while HL2 is akin to To Kill a Mocking Bird or Frankenstein. This supplements my classics arguments.

2. Graphics: Okay now we're getting back into subjective evaluations, which I find untrue. Consider the landscape screenshots below; not only is the level of detail superior but the use of light and the sun are much more effective in HL2.

3. Sound: I doubt we're going anywhere with this argument, lets just leave it as is.

4. Gameplay: On the subjective level of what the gamer wants, well, everyone has their own tastes. But like I said, the lack of change in the world is a severe detriment to the immersion of the game. With all of the lightposts I hit in GTA:SA while driving, the cities should have gone bankrupt. The Pro is widening this debate to other games, however I'd remind you that we're talking about GTA:SA. The game doesn't let you live in another world like HL2 does, it lets you wreck stuff that you can't outside your front door. The world is out there, not in your TV screen. Also, the open world feature of HL3 is both outside of the scope of this debate and complete heresay; Valve hasn't made any official announcements yet.

I'd offer in addition that HL2 includes and does better several things that GTA:SA does not; vehicular combat, puzzle solving, the Gravity Gun and controlling Ant-Lions to break into a prison. Fun? Hell yes. And much better done than GTA:SA's "activities".

5. Lasting Appeal: "Lasting appeal is the judgement of the amount of modes and things to do in the game and how much time they will last, while gameplay, on the other hand, will judge the quality of these things." My opponent has it backwards and is misconstruing the interpretation of this category to suit his argument. Lasting appeal is the quality of the game holistically and how it is recieved by the audience. Gameplay is the judgement of modes of play and specifically the quality of these modes. Also, as stated earlier, the quality of the soryline contributes to the Lasting Appeal of a game, GTA:SA has a poor storyline and HL2's falls under the category of "classic".

In summary, when it comes down to comparing these games not only does the video game review industry agree with the Con but the superiority of HL2 in the five categories discussed demonstrates these reasons. In evaluating a game objectively HL2 is better.
Debate Round No. 4


Closing statement:
I thank the con for the debate, though I am a bit disappointed with his aggressiveness towards GTA San Andreas, like it is a pretty bad game. I will say that San Andreas is great and Half Life 2 is great, however, if it is to play them for fun, I will grant that San Andreas is the best game as it's gameplay is totally varied and you can do anything you want.


In summary, the objective comparison of the two games shows that HL2 is superior. Not only was this recognized by the review industry but also I have shown that HL2 has a clear edge in Presentation, Graphics and Sound; while Gameplay and Lasting Appeal can be muddled with the Pro's subjective interpretations, the Pro has dropped several key arguments. The most important of which is the immersion of the gamer and their connection to the video game, in which a compelling storyline, superior graphics, evocative music and seamless combat systems are key.

The choice is clear, the Pro is controlling this debate. While my opponent has interpreted that as aggressiveness towards his game of choice, I have engaged with this comparison and drawn clear lines of division between these two games. He has not and instead seems to change his mind half-way through the debate over if there is a superior game of the two.

Thanks for the debate Riferrari. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Riferrari 5 years ago
I found it where it says how to upload images, thanks!
Posted by Krestoff 5 years ago
thank you for starting it! it was fun!

I found out how to post images here:
imabenchgives directions in the last post of the thread
Posted by Riferrari 5 years ago
thanks again for the debate. Hey krestoff, I wanted to know how you put images on your arguments, I'm a bit new here.
Posted by Krestoff 5 years ago
correction in R5: Con controlling the debate not pro. I need to sleep more.
Posted by Riferrari 5 years ago
replace pro with con on 5. Lasting Appeal, I've mistaken the words.
Posted by Riferrari 5 years ago
Yeah, I though that it would be best if this debate was longer and by that I've chosen 5 rounds. But seeing it right now, I think 4 rounds would have been the best choice.
Posted by Krestoff 5 years ago
Krestoff in no new arguments? Sure. Honestly I think 5 rounds is a bit much.
Posted by Riferrari 5 years ago
Do you agree to use the last round for closing statements?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by kingsjester 5 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I am completely unbiased in this debate as I have not played either game. Con wins as he proved ratings showed HL2 as a better game after which pro tried to back out of using ratings as an argument after he used them as an argument