A review-lite if you like, seeing as it's not the actual game. The beta is excellent. I'm not a regular Halo player, but got swept up in the hype for the third instalment. I played the beta solidly on the release day, and I thought it was excellent fun. Graphics are already top notch, despite those who've been spoiled by Gears claiming to the contrary, and the sound is awesome. I ran it through my digital surround, and it was incredible. The graphics look better, the larger your TV; I've seen it played on a 26-inch LCD, as well as my 42-Inch Plasma, and it only gets better the larger you go! If they improve them further in the 4 months before release it should be up to everyone's expectations.
The only gripe is its inaccessibility. It is hardcore on Xbox Live, and it will only get worse; but that's not a fault of the game obviously. With the ability to party up with your friends, this should become a lot better. The intense ranked games will still be there for those who like things mentally fast and frantic, but the player matches should sort this out for the more casual players.
The bottom line, that everyone seems to keep missing, is that this game is fun. I got seriously spanked online in every other match I played, but I still enjoyed it because it is such a laugh. Charging at the cocky yanks before cracking them over the head with your rifle is immense fun! Along with ripping off a gun emplacement and using it to destroy the bloke who just cruised past on the quad bike after stealing your team flag! And even when they re-spawn and punish you severely for your actions, it is still enjoyable! There is some seriously satisfying killing in this game, even if, like me, you aren't as hardcore as the Americans who bleed Halo, you'll still have a ball!
Just one other point I didn't like...Push to talk! What's that about? If I want to chat to my team-mates, I don't want to have to take my finger off the pulse just so they can hear me. It is very well implemented, and the way they have designed it so that people are quieter when they are further away (Hard to explain without playing the game itself) is genius, but I just prefer always on comms as standard. Maybe they will put that option in before the release, who knows?
Overall, excellent fun all round. Also bear in mind this will have 4 player co-op in single player campaign, and that can only be a good thing!!