Cheesecakes come in a host of variations. Take for instance the custard based cheesecake, the most famous of which is the New York cheesecake, it uses eggs to give it substance, much like a thick custard. Similar deserts include lemon, marangue pie, and key lime pie. Each develops its texture from the cooked eggs that are beaten into the batter. Of course, depending on the recipe, they may also include corn, or tapioca starch to help thicken the mixture.
I can alter my New York cheesecake to make it very firm, or very creamy. I have made it firm enough to be baked without a crust, in a parchment lined springform pan, and removed the baked custard and put it to the side, and then made the graham cracker crust in the same pan, and filled it with pie filling. After it was baked, I placed the baked custard on top.
The difference between the very firm, and dense cheesecake that I use for the above technique, and the very creamy and soft cheesecake is simply the amount of time that they are baked. I use the same recipe and oven temperatures for both.
A whole other group of cheesecakes are made with gelatine instead of eggs, and resemble a whipped panacotta in texture. These cheesecakes can have other flavors, such as lime, lemmon, orange, strawberry, or other fruit mixed rith in. The cheesecake is chilled to set it up, rather than baked.
Cheesecakes outside the U.S. often are made with ricotta, or cottage cheese. They can also be made with sharper cheeses as well.
I never use a water bath to make my cheesecakes, simply a good quality spring-form pan, and an accurate oven. If I'm making a dense, heavy New York cheesecake, then I have to carefully cool the desert to prevent the top from cracking. I never have any problems when making the creamier version.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are a bunch of recipes out there that make excellent cheesecakes. Some people use a water bath, while others get along fine without it.
If you love cheesecake, look around and find other interesting cheesecake recipes that you've never tried. You just might discover something wonderful
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North