What do you think is more important, utilizing the latest version of DirectX or OpenGL or using a really good game engine. Couldn't a developer sort of sidestep DirectX and OpenGL and surpass what they are capable of with a sufficiently advanced game engine? If anyone has seen the tech demos of CryEngine 3 that I what got me started on this.
Not really; no engine would ever be able to replicate a graphic API through software at any speed beyond 5FPS. Even now, look at how beefy GPU's need to be to get hardware acceleraton of optimized rasterization methods.