World of Tanks is a slow-paced, free to play shooter full of historically plodding tanks. I assumed I’d hate playing it on 360. I was wrong.

World of Tanks is a giant on PCs. The game has over 45,000,000 registered players worldwide and holds a Guinness World Record for having Most Players Online Simultaneously on a single server. Now the historical tank simulator is rolling towards an Xbox 360 release and we got our hands on the game during this year’s Gamescom.

Like the PC version, 360 matches feature 15-on-15 player battles, and the game is free for anyone with an Xbox Live Gold account. Though, Silver members can also check it out for seven days. Battles are a little slower than most console shooters. Players don’t respawn after they die and you have to worry more about tank location than weapon pickups.

For our demo we jumped into the seat of a M22 Locust, but the game will launch with over 70 tanks to choose from. All the tanks in game have been faithfully recreated to reflect real world mid-20th century tanks from around the world

After acclimating myself to the controls, I started scouting the terrain. The M22 Locust is fairly fast, so I zoom around the desert tagging enemy tanks on the map so that my artillery can finish them off. I end up getting caught between two tanks who shoot out my treads and I lose the first match, but after a few play sessions I get the hang of things, and the next time the odds are against me, I roll away the lone survivor.

World of Tanks is a different kind of shooter, and it requires a bit of thoughtful strategy. At its deepest layer, it requires players to understand how all the different tanks work and where they are weakest. Good strategy suggests that players don’t moves and shoot at the same time, and it is ideal to prevent your enemy from flanking you or catching you in the rear where you’re weak.

I certainly won’t sacrifice any of my Titanfall playtime for World of Tanks, but the game offers a nice change of pace from most shooters, and I could see myself dipping into the game for a few matches every now and then, after the game releases later this year.

Interested in checking out World of Tanks on the 360 for yourself? The game is currently in open beta.