Now that I'm about 2/3 of the way through Crackdown, I've come to terms with the fact that I like it a hell of a lot more than GTA. I think the gameplay is more refined (in terms of commitment vs reward, especially), the controls better, and the mechanics more to my liking. So that got me thinking, what other genre-defining games are bested by those the are directly inspired by? I've had two people tell me Saint's Row is another one like this. I've also heard that Supreme Commander (I think that's the name) bested C&C back when. Maybe Hellgate: London to do the same to Diablo II? I'm not talking direct sequels here, but inspirations.
I ask partly because I have limited game playing time, so I try to stick only to games I know are cream of the crop. Being a film lover, this surprised me even more, since I also tend to give additional points to something for originating something new. Is it just me?