Yet the campaign missions, as thrilling as they are, serve as mere appetizer to the extravagant and never ending feast that is Halo 3's multiplayer. Trust us - the beta barely scratched the surface of what's available to you in the full game. Heck, we've played nonstop for three days now and still don't feel like we've come even close to experiencing everything.
What can we say? The developers at Bungie are proven masters of this stuff, whose skills and instincts have only improved in the years since the last game. The 11 maps are beautifully crafted and incredibly diverse, each with an entirely unique appeal. The dozens of match modes include every time-tested favorite you love, as well as several instant classics you're about to love. All the weapons, both old and new, feel just right.
Right out of the box, you can combine the multiplayer choices in Halo 3 to create an endless number of options. A capture the flag match across the base and beach of High Ground is absolutely nothing like a deathmach through the haze and spore-infested tunnels of Isolation. Sniping and creeping amidst the dark gloom and thick vegetation of Guardian cannot prepare you for rocketing full speed across the white hot deserts of Sandtrap in a Mongoose with Spartan laser beams singing you on all sides.
Then you start playing with the generous customization tools the game provides and your mind boggles. Want a swords-only duel? Sure, you can try that. Want everyone to spawn with grenades and Gravity Hammers? Yup, that too. How about a bizarro battle in which one team flies alien aircraft through checkpoints in the sky while the other team, equipped with super powers like invisibility, weightless jumping and sonic speed, tries to bring them crashing down? Hey, if you can dream it, you can probably do it.