Yesterday in New York City Microsoft held an invite-only preview of the Halo 3 Beta, and passed out early Beta keys to a group of game journalists. The result is a barrage of coverage about this most-anticipated title. Notable features beyond basic previews include Dan Hsu's take on the game, Dean Takahashi's 'I got my butt kicked' perspective, the San Jose Merc's interview with Bungie Community Lead Brian Jarrad, CVG's hosting of the official Beta Movie, and Joystiq's interview with Frank O'Connor, Bungie's writing lead. From the 1up preview: "It's unmistakably Halo gameplay, despite the rearranged controls (which feel natural after 10 minutes), and all of the additions fit perfectly into the multiplayer universe we've come to love. The interface has been overhauled and is even easier to use, and you now have such niceties as being able to change your control layout at any point on any screen. While the visuals are rich and beautiful, it's the audio that's really impressed us so far. The rumbling throttle of unleashing dual SMGs makes them feel incredibly powerful, and the Spartan Laser tearing past your head is as scary as you'd imagine. Audio cues are more important than ever, and the better your sound system the more next-gen this will feel." More coverage below.