Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: In free-to-play multiplayer mode, which Microsoft launched this week as a celebratory surprise. As someone who mainly plays Halo for its campaign, I really didn’t expect much from the game’s multiplayer, but it still managed to hook me during 343’s closed betas. Now that it’s open to everyone (though still a beta), I’m even more impressed. The maps are fun and inventive, the gunplay feels tight, and every match feels like a life-or-death battle between super soldiers. It’s the closest the franchise has come to replicating the glory days of Halo 3 (or back when I was hooked on the first game in college). And judging from its massive popularity on Steam, where more than 270,000 people were playing on launch day, it seems like for many gamers, the wait was worth it.