The line between videogames and action films blurred further on Tuesday with Sony's release of an eye-popping, pulse-revving "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" title for PlayStation 3 consoles.
The third installment of the franchise starring wise-cracking fictional fortune hunter Nathan Drake landed in North America with a $60 price tag and reviews calling it a contender for videogame of the year.
"Naughty Dog once again takes a leap forward in cinematic gaming," Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president of marketing Scott Steinberg said, referring to the Southern California studio behind Uncharted.
"Not only does Uncharted 3 deliver an impressive blend of interactive game play and stunning graphics, Naughty Dog has weaved an inspiring and personal story with genuinely relatable characters," Steinberg said.
The Sony-owned studio wove true historical mysteries into a compelling plot that puts Drake on a treacherous path through England, France, Syria and the Rub' al Khali desert to thwart a conspiracy involving a secret society.
Game play is blended with powerful cinematic "cut scenes" boasting graphics so rich that grains of sand shift realistically on desert dunes and crisp cinders swirl in burning rooms. "Effects such as fire and water have been overhauled to make each environment unique and interactive allowing gamers to rush through walls of water, aim and shoot through sloshing pools, and escape a chateau engulfed by fire that curls, billows, and smokes as it burns," according to Sony.
Uncharted 3 can be played in 3D on televisions equipped with the capability.
Naughty Dog designed Uncharted to let people post achievements or snippets of game play to social networking service Facebook or Google-owned online video-sharing venue YouTube.