Can you imagine how bland Team Fortress 2 would be if they had gone with their original plan and made the game photo-realistic? It would have ended up looking like Modern Battlefield or Enemy Warfare or Combat Territory or whatever those other games are called. You know, that one game that has the interchangeable guys in camo shooting at each other in a cloud of brown dust? That one.
You can recognize any of the characters in TF2 in an instant, just from their silhouettes alone. And the characters are so recognizable that often people who don't even play TF2 can identify them. I don't think the other team-based games can make a similar claim. It's not that those games are bad, it's just that that Team Fortress 2 managed to stand out from the crowd and offer something unique. This is a game brimming with personality.
I don't play as much as I'd like, but I do enjoy the time I get with the game. I favor the Medic class on offense, Pyro on defense. What's your class of choice?
Shamus Young is participating in a commentary video series on Fallout 3. You should maybe check it out if that sounds like fun to you.