So I've been looking at this ongoing battle of Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3, and I've actually started to notice a trend. Pretty much every reason presented by the Battlefield players (destructible environments, objective based gameplay, vehicles, ect) were all, ironically enough, things I preferred about Modern Warfare 3.
And that's when it hit me. The key word being PREFERRED.
So I got to thinking pretty extensively. People in the gaming genre often like to throw around the word "better", implying that one game does something, or is generally superior in comparison to another. But a lot of things thrown out there, to me, are things that people preferred about one game. For example, I like Modern Warfare because it’s a more simplistic game. Battlefield requires you in any game mode to work as a team, and while it does have a Team Deathmatch mode, I feel like developers intended for this not to be the "main mode" of the games multiplayer. Battlefield 3 is definitely a more strategy, teamwork based game, which is why I preferred Modern Warfare 3. Its more simplistic and provides me with more of an opportunity to do what I like to do in FPS games: kill people. That's it. Even in MW3, I tend not to do Search and Destroy, Demolition, or even Capture the Flag. Hell, the only reason I put up with Domination is because I like Ground War a lot, and that just happens to be one of the two game modes included in Ground War. The other two, Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed, both have a much higher emphasis on simply killing people. It’s also not as team based, meaning I don't really have to *rely* too heavily on teammates. I can jump into FFA if I wanted to eliminate team play completely. This was my problem with Halo as well. I couldn't simply go online and play basic Deathmatch. I had to put up with either spins on Deathmatch like DMRs only, or different game modes entirely.
This even extends into fighting games as well. As Mortal Kombat continued to sweep up fighting game of the year awards, people really began to throw out why certain fighting games were "better" than Mortal Kombat, or vice versa, and once more, nearly every argument struck me as a preference thing. I play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 because it is a bit more simple, not as steep of a learning curve, and I just generally have a lot more fun with it. Does that mean that it's better than Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, or King of Fighters? No, not really. That just means I have a higher preference for Marvel 3 than I do other fighting games.
Of course, this also led me to think about my own battles with other genres, such as my long time dislike of Square Enix RPGs, more specifically, Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. I've always disliked both of these series. I always felt that the stories were way too simple and predictable. The characters were either too bland, too clichéd, or too obnoxious and over the top. Yet, these games all get really high reviews and have a ton of fans. In High School, I knew a lot of fanatics of this series. If you didn't like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, if you didn't blindly play and enjoy every FF and KH game out there and love Square Enix, and give every RPG they ever made a perfect 10 out of 10, you were not a true RPG fan. Now I wasn't a fan of this series before this point, but I was, at least, willing to try and see what people liked about this series, up until this point, but after that "ordeal" (if you can call it that), that was no more. When I finally stumble upon an actual series of games (up until this point, I had only really just bounced around from random RPG to another), the Tales series, and really enjoyed it, it became my mission to prove to everyone why the Tales series was "better" than Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. But as years went by I talked to a few, more level headed fans of the series, (aka, not fanatics, as every series has), and a few of them even agreed with several points that I brought up, yet they still liked this series more than any other RPG series because the stories were simpler. They weren't really out to make you think. They just exist for the sake of enjoyment. Maybe its true that its not so much a matter of the Tales series being better than Final Fantasy, but me simply preferring the storytelling and characters of the Tales universe. I mean, after all, we all go to predictable movies where we know what's gonna happen, but we still enjoy the ride anyway.
So it was at this point I began to think: people throw the word "better" when comparing games a lot, when they really mean "I prefer" this or that, and people need to get hung up less on picking out a "better" fighting game, or which of the two main FPSs are "better", and picking one that they prefer.
Yet, there definitely is a point where one game is better than another, for example, Mortal Kombat vs. one of its many rip offs like Kasumi Ninja. This game is widely consider to be a bad game and far less superior than Mortal Kombat. And we all have games that we would call "bad". My least favorite game ever is a game known as Dragon Ball Z Sagas, and even through all of this thinking, I could convince myself that it was a matter of preference, like I preferred other beat-em-up games. I still considered DBZ Sagas a bad game.
So when do you hit that point to where you can compare a game as being better vs. simply preferring one over the other? I mean, you can't really compare two games that are too different. You probably wouldn't ask: "Which is the better game: Modern Warfare 3 or Skyrim?" Those are two vastly different games. You'd probably buy one based on whether you were looking for an epic, single player adventure, or an addicting online multiplayer. But then as games become more similar, is it really fair to call one game better than the other? There is an on going battle between fans of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. What exactly makes one "better" than the other that isn't simply one aspect you might like about one that another person might dislike?
So there's you're point of discussion. When do we hit a point of being able to compare two game as being better than another, rather than comparing one game in terms of preference?