The Xbox 360 Games We're Most Excited For In 2009

Microsoft console brings the big guns this year, with the latest from 'Halo,' 'Grand Theft Auto' and other marquee franchises.

After a banner year in 2008, the Xbox 360 looks like it's going to have a big 2009 as well. How do you top a year that had everything from a new "Gears of War" and "Grand Theft Auto" to the artsy "Braid" and the karaoke game "Lips"?

I'm not sure, but here are five games that I'm most excited about in the new year.

5. "Street Fighter IV"

Some of us may not be that good at "Street Fighter." But a virtual beatdown from Soulja Boy Tell'em isn't going to keep me from eagerly awaiting a chance to learn some skills with the first new, numbered "Street Fighter" game in a dozen years. Old favorites are back, and new characters jump in. But the key thing here is that we're getting 3-D graphics and 2-D gameplay. Even I, the guy who can't throw a Ryu fireball, knows that's a good thing. This game's out in February.

4. "Resident Evil 5"

This is another game being shared by Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it's another major release. The latest in Capcom's world-famous survival horror series is coming out in just two months, on Friday the 13th, naturally. The adventure is set in Africa this time, allows for series-first two-player co-op throughout the game's campaign, and sports a modernized control scheme that allows for more nimble movement. Finally, "Resident Evil" characters won't control like tanks.

3. "Final Fantasy XIII"

Look, this game may slip to 2010, and if it does, longtime fans of Square-Enix's epic role-playing game series wouldn't be shocked. But they'd be upset, because it has been three years since the world has gotten a new "Final Fantasy." Every trailer released has promised a grand adventure with the standard mix of high-tech and high-fantasy and an overdressed and underdressed band of friends battling stylish demons. This "FF" is the first one to be released the same day on a Microsoft and Sony platform — a big development for Xbox 360 fans long envious of their PlayStation-owning friends.

2. "Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned"

This first episodic expansion to "Grand Theft Auto IV" is coming out next month only to the Xbox 360 (read: not to the PS3). Rockstar Games is putting players in control of a new protagonist, biker Johnny Klebitz. Can we get as excited about being part of a biker gang in Liberty City as people were about being Niko Bellic? I'm just excited enough about seeing what Rockstar can do with all the lessons learned from making the base "GTA IV" game.

1. "Halo 3: ODST"

Formerly "Halo 3: Recon," this one's a bit of a wild card, but it is a new "Halo" from series developer Bungie. That makes for a wild card that goes in the #1 slot. Players won't be controlling Master Chief. They'll play as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. Bungie has said this game will involve more stealth gameplay than the series has had in the past. And this game also won't quite be a full game. Serving more as an expansion but with a standalone campaign, it's still likely to be the first Bungie game any of us get to play since the original "Halo 3" came out in 2007.

Those are my top five most-anticipated Xbox 360 games, and that's without even considering possible sequels to "Splinter Cell" and "Assassin's Creed," or the announced "BioShock 2." And maybe the mysterious "Alan Wake" will finally surface?

What games are you most excited for on the Xbox 360? Let us know below. We covered the Wii and PlayStation 3 games we're most excited for on Tuesday, and check back through the rest of the week to see our most-anticipated PSP and DS games for 2009.

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