Even though I had never played the first Mass Effect title, Mass Effect 2's presentation still left a strong impression. The first half focused on the way dynamic conversation will affect the story line and cinematics, while the second was a sort of graphical tour de force.
In the opening, the demonstrators confirmed that Commander Shephard was not dead, but then illustrated many different ways that he could die over the course of Mass Effect 2. The demonstrators took us through a few fire fights and then dove into the dynamic conversation.
Conversation choices were presented on screen while the cinematics played through and facial animations conveyed the drama in each scene.
Before too much story could be spoiled, the demonstrators brought us to a new scene in which the ship Shephard and his crew are on is aflame and about to crash into a planet. The fire and camera movement conveyed a lot of action and intensity, but this was starkly contrasted by the vacuum of space when Shephard stepped out into an exposed part of the ship. Breathing played over the blue setting and invoked a feeling of being lost in space. By the end of the scene, Shephard was still in the ship when it was being fired on again. Is he going to be dead this time?
The developers stressed that Mass Effect 2 would center around a suicide mission and that it would take a lot of preparation to avoid ultimate death. The demonstrator wanted to express that although Shephard had made it through to this sequel, it is entirely possible for the characters to die in this sequel.