Wednesday, June 8, 2011

XBox 360 Steering Wheel Review by Andrew Z "Zman"

Xbox 360 Wireless Racing WheelThe xbox 360 steer wheel is a blast! I was already addicted to Forza 2 and was moving steadily up in my career with the regular game controller. With xbox racing wheel (and pedals), I'm moving up even faster than before and the experience is dizzying - literally.

 I have my setup about 3 feet from a 50" plasma and the feedback of the wheel is so realistic that I was getting odd dizzy effects when going in and out of tight corners because my body was expecting to feel real world forces from the seat against my back and sides - and they of course were missing.

Make no mistake, this isn't a bad thing - its a testament to the realistic feedback of the xbox steering wheel. You feel everything - understeer, oversteer, grass, jerks when flying from grass back onto the pavement.

Race OnPrior to this wheel, I always detested driving the big American cars like the Camero or Corvette because they were so difficult to control with the normal controller - they would constantly slide out and wag back and forth because there was no feel. Last night I nailed several races with both these cars because I was finally able to control the car through power slides and oversteers.

 Xbox 360 Steering Wheel Setup

Setup was easy. Though the manual says a system upgrade was needed, I did not find this to be the case. The wheel paired up instantly and I started driving in Forza 2 immediately. The only thing I had to figure out was how to change the camera view (I like the in-car view) because they moved it from RT to X on this controller.

I found a chair with a sloped back on it, put a lumbar pillow in place and just rested the wheel on my legs. Surprisingly it stays in place well though you'll want to wear a pair of jeans. At first, the pedals kept sliding forward on my carpet causing me to crash a couple times. I finally placed them on one of my wife's yoga mats and its been fine since.

Only Problem With The Xbox 360 Steering Wheel

The only beef I still have is that in intense situations the wheel moves around a bit. I may look for a small table to mount the wheel. Also note that the "in the lap" setup makes it impossible to drive with mostly straight arms like the pros. I end up sliding the wheel forward so that its just barely hanging on to the end of my knees so that I can straighten my arms more.

One last piece of advice: don't make the mistake I did and select the McClaren F1 (or similar super car) as your first drive and expect to see a big change. You'll still be all over the place on the road. Work your way up and learn the controller because the turning radius takes some time to learn. Once you do, you'll be amazed.

Xbox 360 Steering Wheel Pros and Cons

Xbox 360 Wheel Pros:
- Realistic feel, improved times, better control over rear wheel muscle cars
- Trivial setup
- High quality materials

Xbox 360 Wheel Cons:
- minor: Pedals slide without some kind of mat

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