Sometimes playing a racing game with an actual wheel instead of a controller is the best way to feel like you’re actually racing. We’ve looked at one such option for Forza Motorsport 4 in a previous column, but here are a few other models that are more universal.
Xbox 360 Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Italia Racing Wheel
- Available at: EB Games, Future Shop, The Source
Those looking for something exclusive to the Xbox 360 at a reasonable price point might like this model. It’s not quite as advanced as the Ferrari Wireless GT wheel for the PlayStation 3, but it does the job well for the price.
Part of the reason why it feels more bare-bones is because you don’t get any force feedback, so while you get a different experience in driving your virtual fleet of cars, you don’t actually feel what they can do. The lack of vibration may be a turn-off to some who feel it adds to the speed and tempo of the races onscreen.
Despite the Ferrari branding and replica 458 wheel, it isn’t necessarily of premium-build quality, but it’s sturdy and durable enough to last for a long time. The pedals stand up well with what feels like just the right amount of resistance, while the gearshift works as advertised.
Logitech G27 Racing Wheel
- Available at: Newegg.ca, Future Shop, Best Buy, Amazon.ca
Designed for use with Windows PCs and the PlayStation 3, Logitech’s G27 is aimed at racing games that are more simulation-based, though it certainly isn’t limited to those. The 11-inch wheel is wrapped in actual leather complementing a six-speed stick shift and steel gas, brake and clutch pedals.
The push-down reverse system may be a bit confusing at first, since it’s not typical of all the vehicles you would be using in the games, but it works fine once you get used to it. The wheel and pedals also try to emulate things like traction loss, deceleration, weight shifting and cornering, with generally good results.
Whatever your plans, just note that this wheel isn’t meant for your lap, and should be placed or mounted on a hard, flat surface. The pedal mount below has a carpet grip, which works nicely, but may require something extra to keep it in place on wooden floors or tiles.
Nintendo Wii Wheel
- Available at: EB Games, Future Shop, Best Buy, The Source, Amazon.ca
Although originally designed for Mario Kart a few years ago, this has become the standard bearer for racing wheels on Nintendo’s console. It’s also still pretty unconventional when you consider that it doesn’t offer a stand, pedals or gearshift, but if you’re just looking for something basic, look no further than this one.
The Wii isn’t known for racing simulators, so playing the likes of Mario Kart and Need for Speed are easy as pie with this wireless racing wheel. Plus, its cheap price tag means it’s easier to have more than one in the house for fairer races against friends and family.
For the most part, the Wii Wheel is more about ergonomics than actual game-play functionality, since it’s easier to hold the Wii remote this way. But even so, the Wii Wheel’s design has influenced other, more advanced Wii wheels from third-party manufacturers.
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