Really, people give DirectX too much importance. It's just an API and does not dictate 100% (not even 60%) how a game will look. Like any API it's there to help make things easier but you could make a game without using any DX version at all, it would just cost more*. In any case every single game developed for the PC has parts that are made using DX features and parts coded directly on HLSL, Cg and whatnot. There's many things a certain DX version cannot make, not even DX11 and that developers really want or need, or want or need in an specific way that DX cannot handle and so they code it themselves and in the end it's the mix what we get. AAA titles have more "custom made" parts and a little less DX and lazy developers just use DX without even tweaking it which is what spawns the miriad of generic looking games that populate the mediocre group of average games. * Although there's some people who, from an academic standpoint, actually think that the use of APIs like DX or OpenGL is detrimental to the efficiency and quickness to release of an AAA title or a title that pushes the graphics limits even further. Basically their instance is that such titles often require more time to optimize the code than to actually write it and test it and hence writing closer to the ISA would/could allow a faster development (because it would not require as much optimization time to obtain the same quality/performace relation), plus better performance and set of features to begin with.