IMO high-quality graphics is less about buzzwords, and more about having great interaction between your technology and the artists. You need to have talented artists, talented engineers, and a good working relationship between them. You also need a clear vision of what sort of look your game will have, and engineers that can make the right choices in how to deliver that look. There have been a lot of great-looking games that took low-tech approaches to their game, and they succeeded because they had a consistent vision and their tech was well-suited for the game they were making.
Obviously in a lot of cases you will end up using commonly-used techniques since they are well-understood and have good quality/performance characteristics, but that doesn't mean your game will look good just because your engine supports them. The engineers need to make the right choice in which techniques to use, and they need to understand them well enough to explain to the artists how to effectively use them. A good artist can make really crappy visuals with good tech if they don't understand it, or if the tech isn't well-suited to what they're trying to create.
One last critical point is that it's crucial to understand the scope of the game that you can pull off, and make sure that your game design and visuals are well-tailored to the limitations of your team. If you have a small team with limited money, you're not going to be able to pump out the insane amount of unique content that a large AAA studio can. So you won't be creating hundreds of unique meshes per level, along with dozens of unique motion-captured animations for non-interactive sequences. Instead it would be better to take a more minimalist approach, where you can reuse more content or otherwise avoid the need for lots of levels/game areas.