The hottest games coming to the Xbox 360 in 2009

The biggest games you'll want to keep an eye on.

Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion

208409-18

It's coming, and it's about time. Soul Calibur IV was fun to fiddle with for a while, but customizing armor can only distract you from dull arenas and wonky balance for so long. Taking its cue from Dead or Alive 4's battlegrounds, Tekken 6 sports several tiered arenas. Landing bone-crushing hits will splinter the ground beneath you, sending both players plummeting to another section of the stage. Likewise, Soul Calibur's character customization will make an appearance, but with a twist: Each of the game's 41 characters will sport signature items that can be used in combat to brilliant-or hilarious-effect.

But the real change to Tekken 6 is in its gameplay. A new bounce mechanic will let you juggle your friends until they want to break their controllers, and the Rage system will increase your damage if your vitality drops too far. The end result is a heck of a lot more damage getting spread around the stage, so everyone will be given a significant boost to their health bars to compensate.

The biggest shocker is that Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion will debut on both the PS3 and Xbox 360. Whichever system you own, the fight begins this fall.

Wolfenstein

208409-20

Every first-person shooter can trace its lineage back to Wolfenstein 3D, the great-granddaddy of FPS games. Before Doom conquered the PC and paved the way for Quake, Unreal, and Halo, Wolf 3D was there. It didn't pioneer the genre, but it sure helped make it what we know and love today. In 2001, Return to Castle Wolfenstein did for multiplayer what Wolf 3D did for shooters, blending objective- and class-based gameplay into a single experience, well before Battlefield 1942 came along.

Now, nearly seven years later, Raven Software's new Wolfenstein is looking just as sweet as its forebears. The sequel to RTCW, Wolf is built on the id Tech 4 engine. These days, those visuals aren't really anything to write home about, but the gameplay is exactly why FPS games win: Nazis, demons, inter-dimensional travel, and an arsenal of weaponry that can only be described as ?ber.

Wolf's story goes something like this: "BJ" Blazkowicz, OSS field agent and star of the first two games, has once again stumbled upon a Nazi plot. Hitler's occult-chasers have discovered an extra-dimensional energy source called Black Sun. Predictably, they think such power could make for some awesome weapons, so they've devised a way to bridge the gap between our dimension and Black Sun's. They've built devices that can shift you in and out of the Veil-a limbo world that shimmers between the two dimensions. And though actions in the Veil can affect our world, they rarely work as expected.

The result? You'll basically be fighting off hordes of demons with superpowers. Some enemies will have shields that can only be penetrated through the Veil; others will succumb to your "mire" ability, which slows them down and gives you the chance to pick them off one by one. There will even be puzzles that involve hopping in and out of the Veil, getting around obstacles that only exist in one of the two dimensions.

It wouldn't be Wolfenstein without the quintessential Enemy Territory gameplay, and Raven Software's Wolf shouldn't disappoint. This time around, though, you won't just be reaching for objectives as part of a team; you'll be tearing through the Veil with paranormal weapons along the way. Should Wolf be on your radar? You bet your shiny behind.

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