I'm not the biggest fan of racing games. I don't mind playing them every now and then, but I tend to get bored pretty quickly. I always played them using a standard Xbox 360 controller, but I have recently purchased a Logitech DriveFX Racing Wheel for Xbox 360. I must say that because of this wheel I am now a massive fan of driving games - I simply would not want to revert back to using a normal controller.
I've recently finished my final university exams and I wanted something to reward myself with. Saying that, I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for my reward. So I scoured the internet and found a bargain. The recommended retail price for this wheel is £69.99, but Amazon is currently selling it for £22.99 (+ £5.48 postage).
**What's in the box?**
The wheel comes well packaged in quite a large box. Inside the box is the wheel itself, the foot pedals, and the wires. The wheel comes with an American plug, but this was not a problem as it comes with an American - British plug adapter.
My initial impressions after opening the box and viewing the product was that it was very well made. The wheel itself is black and is made of plastic and rubber. It feels nice and solid in the hands, and even without plugging it in (and thus enabling the 'axial force feedback') it has some resistance to it. I found that the wheel also only turns 90 degree's each way (unlike the steering wheel on a normal car), but upon using the wheel I found that this was not a problem. Once the wheel is plugged in and turned on, the motors in the wheel tighten up (just like if you try to turn the wheel in a stationary car). The motors give a feeling of resistance in the wheel due to the 'Axial force feedback' technology within (more detail later). There are 2 sensitivity settings for the wheel. The first is very sensitive, and the second is less sensitive. I prefer the less sensitive setting. To change the sensitivity there is an unmarked black button, which when pressed will change the sensitivity between the two settings. To change gears manually you can use the 'flappy paddles' which are located on either side of the back of the wheel. They are actually more like buttons than paddles, but they do the job and are easy to use.
** The Pedals**
The pedals are made of black plastic and they seemed to have just the right amount of resistance to them. However they do have a tendency to slip on the floor a little bit. Also they were clearly designed for left foot breaking - trying to break with you right foot is a nightmare. There is no clutch included which makes sense as there is no manual gearstick, and using a clutch with the 'flappy paddles' on the steering wheel just wouldn't feel right.
Installing the wheel is an easy task which only takes a couple of minutes. The wheel itself clamps to a table or desk easily, and the clamps feel sturdy. A little niggle here is the fact that there is no protective padding on the parts of the wheel and clamps which are in contact with the table, and so tightening the clamps may mark the table. I solved this problem by putting medium thickness card on the contact points. The wheel plugs into the Xbox 360 console via a USB cable which provides the power to the wheel. The pedals are connected to the wheel via a wire. Your Xbox live headset can be plugged in the back of the steering wheel base. There is another wire that plugs into a power socket and then into the wheel - this provides the 'axial force feedback'. The wheel can be used with the 'axial feedback' either on or off depending on your preference.
**What is 'Axial force feedback'?**
'Axial force feedback' is basically the technology which feeds back to you through the wheel. So as you drive along the wheel will vibrate, and if you crash the wheel will violently vibrate. There are also motors in the wheel which pull the wheel left and right. This makes the wheel easier or harder to steer. So if the car has under steer when you are taking a corner the wheel will be difficult to turn. If the car has over steer when you are taking a corner the wheel will be easy to turn. In practice this works very, and makes for more entertaining and realistic racing.
**How does it play?**
I have used this wheel for both 'Forza Motorsport 2' and 'Project Gotham Racing 4'. The wheel works well for both games and it definitely makes the games more fun to play compared to using a standard controller. I also find it easier than using a controller as you can be more precise when turning the wheel as opposed to moving a analogue stick. 'Forza Motorsport 2' is probably more fun to play than 'Project Gotham Racing 4' when using the wheel, and this is probably because 'Forza Motorsport 2' is a racing simulation, whereas 'Project Gotham Racing 4' is an arcade racer. I play using an automatic gearbox which is very fun, but I have tried manual gear changes using the 'flappy paddles' which is difficult but still very fun.
Overall I think this racing wheel is an absolute bargain, and is very good quality for the price. There are a few little niggles such as the lack of protective padding on the parts touching your table, and the amount of wires that are required for the wheel to function, but I'm just being picky! I would also like to note that my dad loves playing 'Forza Motorsport 2' with this wheel, and it is the first time I have ever got him to play a videogame - he now plays on it more than me!
I picked this wheel up off amazon for £53 from what I remember. I've had it a few months now and so far, so good!
First Impressions we're good, the wheels itself very sturdy and good quality material. And ignoring its dinky size does actually feel like a real sporty steering wheel.
Other things to point out are that it grips to the table very well and is very easy to adjust. Only downsides from first impressions are there are quite a few wires, although it doesn't try to claim to be wireless like the official Microsoft version, which still has a wire. Also the pedals feel a little weak, no problems what so ever with them so far, but I wouldn't use them with shoes on.
Oh, and the major downside which has just come back to me, is that it has an American plug! So you will need a US to UK adaptor to be able to use the force feedback feature.
I've been using the wheel with PGR4, and it works just perfectly with the game. Very responsive and the Force Feedback is excellent.
Another thing to comment on is the stand that the pedals sit on is quite slippy, so you have to use left foot breaking, otherwise you find yourself making far too many errors.
The wheel is very easy to set up, and with a game like PGR needs no calibration.
The Flappy paddles are actually more like buttons that paddles, but still a trigger like effect and I suppose this is realistic to quite a few cars now, eg Mercedes. (I think!)
Reading through this again, it seems like there are quite a few downsides to the wheel, but really I am very impressed with it.
For the money its been a really good purchase and has completely transformed racing games for me. So I certainly give it the thumbs up!
fantastic racing wheel only one problem the paddles just a bit to far into the wheel for me .but otherwise brilliant senstivity 10 out of 10 control 10 out of 10 and pedals 10 out of 10...if your a racing fan you must buy this #1 on my list