After doing UV layouts in Maya and painting textures into those UV layouts in Photoshop, I must say that it quite reminds me of programming in assembly when you know that higher level programming languages are available with all kinds of magical features. If you would actually use tools such as ZBrush for modeling and texturing you can actually work a lot faster in creating various types of content. Maya is very good at animating, but it is lacking some of the high level modeling features you get in these sculpting packages.
There is a free polygonal sculpting solution available from Pixologic called sculptris, which you can use to sculpt polygonal geometry and paint.
You can also use the Autodesk solution called Mudbox, but that is one software that I have really no experience with but I think it has a lot of similar sculpting features ZBrush has.
It is very easy to create simple geometry in Maya, draw NURBS curves and convert to polygonal shapes, extrude and cut. But these tools are not the best artistic tools for creating complex shapes. Not that I need very complex shapes, but to know how to use tools like these is a good idea so that you know what tool is best for the job, and which one will require the least amount of work to get where you are going. But I will need organic shapes that are quite a lot of work to create in traditional modeling packages. Plus, the new Shadow Box in ZBrush and the hard surface modeling brushes make it very easy to create hard surfaces. The biggest issue game developers would mention is the amount of polygons that come out of these packages and that it is some work to reduce and make them usable. The amount of work to reduce the shape of the geometry, plus the time modeling it is still a lot less than plucking on vertices, faces and edges in traditional packages.
I am very new to the world of digital sculpting but I have learned a lot in the last day or so. The workflow is different, the tools behave differently and the models can be very easy and fun to make. The added benefit of being able to paint the texture on the geometry, makes it a lot more natural to create color maps than to work with warped images in Photoshop.