The "Call of Duty" franchise might be king of the roost when it comes to realistic military competitive gaming, but they're not the only ones doing it right.

The "Call of Duty" franchise might be king of the roost when it comes to realistic military competitive gaming, but they're not the only ones doing it right.

The latest entry in the long-running "Battlefield" series proves that Activision isn't the only publisher who can offer an outstanding multiplayer game of modern combat.

"Battlefield: Bad Company 2" is a direct sequel to the original title, a story-focused military shooter. Like its predecessor, this game takes a more narrative approach as it continues to follow the story of one special-forces team overloaded with generic military stereotypes.

The story begins with an interesting plot involving the recovery of a mysterious super-weapon from a defecting Japanese scientist during World War II. But the game quickly retreats back into snow-covered Eastern Europe and all the same generic settings we've seen too many times lately.

"Modern Combat 2" also ends in an unlikely assault from Russian military. This recurring theme of Russian invasion in all these modern first-person shooters is obvious proof that too many game designers grew up in the 1980s with an unhealthy fondness for the film "Red Dawn."

Fortunately, "Bad Company 2" overcomes the single-player campaign's shortcomings by offering one of the best cooperative combat experiences available. The multiplayer elements rely on teamwork, and the game modes expand beyond the typical capture-the-flag and team-deathmatch paradigms nicely.

Vehicles have always played a key role in "Battlefield" titles, and this game's no exception. One of the more interesting multiplayer modes, Squad Deathmatch, supports up to four squads and one infantry fighting vehicle as players roam the map attempting to be the first to score 50 enemy kills.

Playing in multiplayer also yields experience points for the player, and those points eventually allow you to earn ranks and unlock new weapons and abilities for your characters. There are 50 ranks in all, and the game encourages teamwork by awarding more experience for working together toward objectives, helping your squad or repairing squad vehicles.

Overall, "Battlefield: Bad Company 2" is a bit too similar to "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2." But the concentration on tactical gameplay, teamwork, destructible environments and building physics makes this a good choice for players who disdain the mindless grind of combat found in "Modern Warfare."

Unfortunately, these factors also mean it might not gain quite as many fans in the long run.