I'm Developing A Serious Racing Wheel Problem

I'm Developing A Serious Racing Wheel Problem

Late last night, during my fourth day of playing Forza Horizon 2 with Mad Catz' Xbox One Pro Racing Wheel, I began to wonder if force feedback in my hands was enough. Why isn't my chair shaking? Shouldn't I feel the vibrations of the road beneath my feet? Oh no.

It's been ages since I've played around with a real mount-to-the-table racing wheel. I'd imagine that had I been incredibly impressed with the ones I've tried before, I'd still have one set up today. But alas, while I love my racing games, I've never felt I was good enough at them to warrant the purchase of something like a $400 racing wheel. I should have taken the chance sooner.

For after struggling for the first hour or so with Mad Catz' aluminium and suede beast, something clicked. Something also rumbled and rattled, but the clicking — it was a very profound sort of clicking. A clicking of slightly misshapen puzzle pieces finally clicking into place. The problem wasn't my skill. I just couldn't connect driving a car with flicking sticks on a game pad. This, on the other freakishly large hand...

I'm Developing A Serious Racing Wheel Problem

...this I understand. Skin against leather-wrapped metal and plastic, kicking in my hand like some sort of manly wild horse trying to toss a cowboy. You'll have to excuse me, this whole grunty male car power fantasy is new to me. I'll get the nomenclature down at some point. Probably after I stop using words like nomenclature.

Leaning back in my green high-backed Ikea desk chair, gripping the wheel with two hands as I barreled through the Forza Horizon 2 wilderness — I'm an excellent driver in real life, and suddenly I was a rather ok driver in this virtual Europe.

To anyone else that's played a racing game for more than 15 minutes, there's nothign special about this clip. Just a guy out on the road, racing against jets. The usual. For me, however, this clip is one of my fondest achievements. I did not hit the wall once. I did not spin out on the grass. I followed my racing line with something akin to confidence, and I triumphed.

Now I drive through the European countryside one-handed, charging over hilltops and weaving between trees like a giant bumblebee. I went ahead and spent the $US25 Microsoft store credit I've been holding onto for several months on the Forza Horizon 2 Car Pass, for I've the sudden urge to race all of the vehicles. I'm in love with racing again.

I'm Developing A Serious Racing Wheel Problem

Now I'm not saying the Mad Catz Xbox One Pro Racing Wheel is some sort of magical device. It's a solid piece of equipment, able to withstand the massive amount of pressure my ridiculous legs can put on a plastic and metal pedal assembly. Its suede steering wheel cover just comfortable enough to keep my hands gripping it long enough to change my mind. And thank goodness the steering column can be adjusted upward. There's even a switch on the back to switch between 900 and 270 degrees of rotation.

It's not without its issues, however. The force feedback is very rumbly and loud, especially in a game with off-road driving like Forza Horizon 2. There are two sets of aluminium pedals on either side of the steering wheel, but the lower two have no function and cannot have a function mapped to them — hopefully support for those can be patched in (they do nothing in Forza 5 either). The wheel is relatively small as well — only about ten inches in diameter. It's still a good firm grip with two hands, but I feel my gargantuan paws aching for something larger.

And then there's the price tag. I usually don't quibble over price, but $US400 is a lot to spend on what's at the moment the only game in town. And it's even worse now that I feel the uncontrollable urge to by a racing seat to mount this to.

Either way, congratulations, Forza Motorsport 2 and the Mad Catz Xbox One Pro Racing Wheel. Together you have changed the way I'll be playing racing games from here on out.

Now if only I had something with which to play Driveclub on the PlayStation 4.

I'm Developing A Serious Racing Wheel Problem

Oh hello, Thrustmaster T300RS. You're up next.


Comments

    Get your hands on a fanatec wheel, (unfortunately not compatible with current gen just yet) .. You'll love it, Bit pricier then the mad catz, but well worth it if you really wanna experience your racing games... I Cannot play racing games without a wheel any more so have yet to jump into any on current consoles. (have a fanatec csr and clubsport pedals for forza on 360) but as soon as fanatec release there xb1 wheel Ill deffs be grabbing one.

      actually they are ;) The Fanatec CSW V2 has hinted at ps4 and xboxone rims for the wheel base :) mind you its a sim racing wheel and not just some arcade POS. upwards of $1200 for the base and rim without pedals which set you back around $300. everything else is just a toy compared.

      Last edited 08/10/14 9:02 am

    400 buck wheels really should have three pedals and a shifter. My launch day g25 is still going strong, no noticeable wear, and it has been used for rigorous game development duties (oh the laps it has seen!).

    Sucks that the new consoles are closed systems when it comes to usb support, I just can't justify a wheel for each.

      I sold my G25 after I moved to 360 gaming. Picked it up cheap so actually made $20 out of a few years ownership.

      Fanatec have secured licencing with both Sony and Microsoft for their next gen wheel, so you can buy one hub/pedal/shifter combo and just switch wheels. I doubt it will be cheap though.

    Its a shame there aren't more wheels that work on all platforms. Only one that comes to mind was that super expensive Fanatic wheel.

    I am so sorry but can someone plz make a racing set using actual car parts to get that feel of driving

      I would have thought at these prices someone would be selling a kit where you get the core components and then go out and fit them with actual car parts of your choice. Seems crazy to have a really hardcore setup internally and then a Mario Kart Wii wheel on the front.

        The old Logitech wheels could have real MOMO wheels fitted pretty easily. Remember though, this is for racing games, and plenty of racing cars have tiny wheels.

      Firstly, I've driven a few cars with 10" steering wheels, and secondly there are major drawbacks to using a real 16" wheel on sim gear. The increase in required torque and rotational inertia means that the ffb feels weak, spongy, and laggy.

      To overcome this you need more powerful motors and gearing, which introduces further lag unless you spend significantly more money. It's really just not worth the cost to have this kind of realism, especially since the 10" wheel isn't.

      If you want to try, it is absolutely possible to fit a real wheel to most popular sim wheels using an adapter. I just wouldn't bother, really.

    FYI, you wrote Forza Motorsports 2 instead of Horizons.

    ah wonderful, bout to drop some coin on the thrustmaster, will wait for your write up on it

    I'm new to racing wheels and am considering getting one when I get a PS4. Any suggestions, tips? Guessing I shouldn't buy a last-gen one in case it isn't compatible with PS4 games like some aren't with Driveclub.

      You don't have a lot of choice at the minute! I think the only game to support wheels is DRIVECLUB and it only supports two wheels... http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2014/09/30/wheels-work-driveclub/

      My Logitech GT wheel is just sat in the cupboard at the minute, hopefully they work with Sony to get it working at some point.

        Yeah, I'm assuming they'll pull their heada outta their arises and patch in more compatibility at a later date, at least I hope so. I also hope Evolution makes another MotorStorm after DC that has wheel compatibility, even though yes its super arcadey, there's a finess to the handling that could well be tamed with a wheel. What games do you play/played with yours BTW?

          I played GT5 and 6 as well as F1 2011 and 2012. Also played GRID 2 with it on the PC but that game was very "meh" especially with a wheel.

          As the PS3 been replaced with the PS4 and I sold my gaming PC to buy the PS4, it has no use at the minute!

          Last edited 09/10/14 9:43 am

    The question is is it worth $700, without a shifter.. So with shifter the price of two consoles.. Is it 4 times better than the g27 because it's 4 times the price... I can't race without a wheel anymore I have a racing seat setup and I only had a ps3 for driving games... Now it sits there collecting dust... I hope Logitech come out with another solution for next gen at an affordable price. I would happily pay $700 if it was cross platform with next gen and PC but that'll never happen..

    I have one of these: http://www.pagnianimports.com.au/simulator-wheel-package-bundles/simulator-wheel-package/ps3-package/gtxtreme-simulator-fanatec-csr-pack.html

    I don't regret it for a second (though my wife isn't a fan of it sitting in the middle of the living room)

    I have one of these: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2006/11/17/homedics_icush_immersive_audio_sync_seat/
    Which can be made to vibrate based on the bass level. It's a nice addition to the wheel in racing games as well as ambience in fps's. Cant wait to add an Oculus.

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