While I saw plenty of amazing games at E3, the one moment that sticks with me is when BioWare was demonstrating the new conversation interrupt system for Mass Effect 2.
Briefly touched on in Totilo's impressions post, the interrupt system goes hand-in-hand with the tougher COmmander Shepard we're seeing in Mass Effect 2. It's a feature that takes the first game's rich conversation system and makes it just a little bit deeper, adding to the cinematic flow of the title.
So how does it work?
As Stephen mentioned, at one point during the demo, Shepard and crew are searching for an assassin in a giant space building (lacking a better term), and they stop to question a guard standing at the top of a large transparent elevator shaft looking dealie. Asking for information, the guard refuses to help, after which our new, tougher commander gruffly replies, "You've got two ways down, express or coach."
As the guard responds, obviously not willing to give them the information they seek, an icon flashes in the bottom of the screen, letting the player know an interrupt action is available. Pull the trigger, and Shepard interrupts the guard's response, violently.
"Nothing more to say?" he asks, shoving the guard off of the platform, letting him fall to his death. "How about goodbye?"
I wanted to cheer. I got chills. They might have multiplied, though I stayed in control.
Perhaps you had to be there, and eventually you will be there, but it was just an amazingly cinematic science fiction movie moment, and you were completely in control. Well, you press a button, but if you didn't press it, it wouldn't happen, so there.
I'm not sure what it says about me, that my biggest game moment of E3 2009 was a dialog decision. Maybe I've seen too much over the years to be impressed by simple game announcements or the promise of technology still a good year away. Maybe I'm just a science fiction roleplaying dork. Either one works.