Has Bungie made Halo multiplayer even better? Is it even possible? Yes...yes it is.
After a solid 5-hour session last night with the Halo: Reach Beta, I just gotta say, wow this is fun! Bungie is the king of multiplayer. So far only two maps are available, Swordbase and Powerhouse. Both of these maps work well with all of the gametypes, which include Slayer, Covie Slayer, King of the Hill, Headhunter, Capture the Flag, Juggernaut, Oddball, S.W.A.T. and Stockpile. I really didn't think I was going to enjoy Headhunter(collect skulls and take them to goal areas) or Stockpile(collect flags and take them to goal areas), but they were surprisingly a blast to play! Each map is littered with tons of cool weapons, many of them new. Powerhouse is well-rounded with open and close-quarter areas, plus multiple tiers. Speaking of multiple tiers, Swordbase has tiers like crazy. At first it's a bit confusing, but in no time you'll be taking the flag up the lift to the 2nd story for a nice shortcut.
I don't know how to explain the feel of the game, except that it just feels tighter. You know how H2 felt "tighter" than H3? Well it seems to be back to that. The armor abilities are a blast and I love being able to pick a different load-out each time I spawn to respond to the current situation. The new armor lock ability is cool. You become invincible and if you hold the button down long enough, you send out an EMP blast that disables shields. There were many times last night I would be waiting for someone's armor lock to run out so I could blast them, only to have my shields blown away and the guy run up and melee me. Whenever I pick the ability to sprint, I'm loving it. Halo has needed some sprinting for a while, and while it's unfortunate that it is an armor ability instead of just a default move, it's still really cool. You jump further and smack harder when you are sprinting. The jetpacks are fun to use as well and in some gametypes seems almost necessary to get to where you need to be quickly. I tried flying up out of the level onto a ledge and despite Bungie saying you could leave the field of play, I was was stopped by the dreaded invisible walls. That would be the only minor gripe I have about it so far, which is nothing when outshone by the awesomeness of this game.
More info to come as the Beta continues!