In fact, roughly 57 seconds of the game was on display (a little more, a little less, depending on ones skills). The particular level had a best time set by one of the devs from DICE and we played it over and over (and over) again chasing their best time ghost.
Control in the demo – and, as we were told, the rest of the game – is (in the case of PS3) handled by a combination of L1, L2, R1, and Triangle (the latter is an action button and wasn't employed in the level we played). L1 served as both jump and clamber up, while L2 made our character, Faith, slide under objects and roll when held on landing (important in order to keep from taking fall damage). R1 was a quick 180 degree turn, which proved extremely useful in executing wall jumps.
This trick took us several tries to master, but helped shave precious seconds off our time at the expense of leaving us feeling a bit queasy. It's performed by running at a wall, hitting L1 right before reaching it, tapping R1 as Faith begins to scale it to turn around, and finally timing L1 just right once more to leap off the wall.
The EA and DICE folks obviously had more opportunity to prepare, as we never were able to best their times. Still, it was fun for the short time the experience lasted. That said, we're still wondering where the "real" game is.
When it does arrive, it will come packing 20 time trial levels and a ghost sharing function so that you can challenge the world's best runners – maybe even Gears of War 2 director Cliff Bleszinski, who we caught navigating Faith across the rooftops as we planned our next, potentially faster route to the finish.