Let's Look At Some Sample Pictures
This is a usual player in Q3 Test. It doesn't consist of many polygons, but Id increased them significantly compared to the amount of polygons used for a character in Quake2.
This is the same player with reduced polygon count. The textures used are still the same, but e.g. the shoulder and the weapon consist of a lot less polygons and present a lot less detail, thus the player looks a lot less realistic.