I'm not ashamed to admit that I am currently a bit rubbish at the Halo 3 Beta. If you've been playing over the weekend and come across someone looking dazed and confused on the battlegrounds of Valhalla or Snowbound, that's me who you shot in the face repeatedly. My only retort is that I'm an easy kill so you shouldn't feel too clever about nailing me. I'm like a baby rabbit dumped in a vat of hungry wolves.
The thing is, in an office full of gamers -many of whom are Halo experts -this Halo n00b is probably the most excited about the Halo 3 Betaout ofeveryone. For me it's a brand new challenge, so I'm almost blinkered to the cynical criticism levelled at it. (Of which the most common is, "What’s this then, Halo 2?"). I'm discovering it's a slow learning curve - I not only have work out how not to get f***ing caned within nanoseconds of spawning, I've also got to get to grips with the baffling parlance of Halo.
In another life, my FPS of choice was always the hugely under-rated cult shooter TimeSplitters 2. During extended periods of offline deathmatch (TS2 didn't ever get an online mode) we developed our own language and terms for artillery - the SBP-90s became the Butter Knives. The Rocket Launcher became the Roquettes, pronounced as if we were French. I knew exactly where to aim to take a man down with Jedi-like precision. It's this intimate knowledge of weapons and equipment which I lack in Halo 3.
As a starter I'm not entirely sure what the best weapons are; which explains why even when I do get a bead on an enemy for a few seconds, my 100 rounds seem ineffectual against their single lethal shot to my skull. I'm also painfully aware of my lack of tactics. While everyone else seems to get a lot of kills by jumping up and down all the time, when I adopt the same strategy it makes no difference. I just fall further when I die.