Driving Force GT Racing Wheel Review

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Logitech Driving Force GT racing wheel Company: Logitech
Platform: PlayStation 3 (most functions will work with the PlayStation 2 or other devices with a USB port)

Logitech has launched its latest and hottest wheel, the Driving Force GT racing wheel for the PlayStation 3. Designed specifically for Gran Turismo drivers, the Driving Force GT provides a tight feeling of control for any driving game.

Kyle Ackerman

This is the best freakin' wheel I've used that wasn't attached to an actual car. If you play racing games, you want this wheel. If you play Gran Turismo 5: Prologue you covet this wheel. If you spend your time trying to shave a few more precious seconds off your best Gran Turismo times, you need this wheel.

Logitech Driving Force GT racing wheelThat's hardly surprising, since Logitech's Driving Force GT racing wheel was designed with Gran Turismo 5 in mind (just look at the name of the wheel), with input and guidance from the Gran Turismo 5 development team. I had a chance to try out a prototype of the Driving Force GT wheel in February, and I was excited about the wheel at the time. Now that I've gotten to spend a lot of quality time with the final product, I'm completely enamored of the wheel.

I could talk about features all day, but neither a feature list nor images of the wheel can truly convey the way this peripheral feels or transforms video game driving. The Driving Force GT feels more solid and realistic than any other wheel peripheral I've used – make sure it's anchored to a solid surface, because you don't want a flimsy card table to ruin the illusion. The wheel assemblage connects to a pair of pedals that also provide amazing action. The solid construction of the wheel and pedals grant seriously superior performance when it comes to turning, braking and accelerating – a level of precision that can't be matched with a conventional controller and that exceeds the performance of other console wheels.

Beyond responsive rocking pedals and a great-feeling wheel, the Driving Force GT racing wheel includes all the functions of a PlayStation 3 controller (you don't have to keep a controller next to your wheel to navigate the XrossMediaBar (XMB) to your game and several features perfectly tuned to improve your Gran Turismo game. Heck, there's an illuminated horn button with the GT logo to cap it all off. Everything is there.

There's a stick shift (that also sports impressively responsive action) as well as shifting buttons on the wheel itself. The wheel has rubberized grips that make it comfortable for long drives, and – if you have to go hand-over-hand – 900° rotation. I didn't feel limited using the wheel on those hairpin turns. Of course, the wheel has a force feedback system that helped me get a real feel for the road. To get a better feel for the road, I'd need a force-feedback chair and a wraparound monitor. It seems like Logitech thought of everything – there's even a fold-out carpet grip in the pedal assembly so it won't slip if you have slick carpeting.

Logitech Driving Force GT racing wheelThe crown jewel of the Driving Force GT racing wheel is something you're unlikely to use unless you're a dedicated Gran Turismo fan. Hardcore Gran Turismo racers know who they are, and they know that sometimes it's worth pausing the game before cruising into a curve to change game settings like the traction control system or brake bias. That's where the 24-position realtime adjustment dial comes into play (it's the red dial in the picture). That particular dial is designed to interface with Gran Turismo 5 so that you can adjust most of the game's settings on the fly, without pausing. Occasionally I still found myself wanting to pause the game to take a second to breathe, but if you are constantly swinging something like the damper settings back and forth, this dial makes it almost effortless to tweak Gran Turismo to perfection.

The fact that this wheel is meant for Gran Turismo 5 didn't stop me from trying it with other games, right down to the PlayStation 3 launch title MotorStorm and some PlayStation 2 games. In nearly all cases, using this wheel is better than using the conventional controller, although the degree to which that's true depends on the age of the game. The older the game is, the more compromises you have to make. But the wheel works perfectly with Gran Turismo 5, and that's really the most important thing.

Pick up the Driving Force GT wheel and start practicing with Gran Turismo 5: Prologue so that you can be ready when Gran Turismo 5 hits. If you spend much time at all with Gran Turismo 5, the $150 price tag on this wheel will seem small after just a few hours. It wouldn't hurt to pick up a pair of driving gloves, just for extra style points.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on May 13, 2008 10:06 AM.

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