Finally got a good evening with the buddies (minus Mike Parent) to play the new Halo 3 Beta at length and decided I would post a few observations: 1. Yeah, it is that good. What did I like about it? Well, for one, the combat physics are greatly improved. It's much more a throwback to Halo 1. When you jump there isn't a 5 second window where you're hanging in the air like a Power Ranger. 2. The visuals are nice. Not insane like Gears of War, but still very good. Interaction with the environment is excellent. I noticed I was getting bogged down in snow when charging one opponent. 3. Weapons. I can go on and on about the weapons. Used to be there was the sword, sniper rifle, and rocket launcher. Whoever controlled the power weapons controlled the game. No more. Guess what, everything is portable. One opponent was bunkered with a rocket launch in a crop of rockets and nobody could get in there. I unhooked a gatling gun from it's mount, plodded over and proceded to dig out his whole team. Dual wielding is improved. You're no longer vulnerable when reloading. Each bumper on the control reloads it's respective gun. So if you reload the left, you still have the right to defend yourself. There are so many cool explosives this time around and the bubble shield is and land mines are very effective. The spike grenade is by far my favorite addition. Best new weapon? Spartan Laser. Think Hammer of Dawn but on a frozen rope. Instant crispy critter. 4. Interface. The lobby and related interface is unbelievably improved. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to take a pretty damn ambitious concept and make it reality, and it's the little touches that make it so cool. Like the ability to review the previous game's stats all the way up to the next match. The new ranking and historical record keeping are also very nice. The most impressive by far is the film room. You can keep a video copy of your favorite matches, edit them down, and share them online. Not to sure how the latter works but I'm sure we're going to see a plethora of 'teabagging' music videos on YouTube. All in all, I'm very impressed. The graphics were very far along and the gameplay for the most part of extremely smooth with little or no lag. To think that this will get even furthed polished before release means the final product will be phenomenal. I can't wait to jump into coop online campaign mode a la Gears of War. Finish the Fight!