Driving wheels are great aren`t they? But can you find one for a reasonable price that’s worth using? I think not, not everyone wants to spend £500 on a set up to play a driving game (you can buy a real car for that price!). And the cheaper end are just that, cheap. So what do us part time racers have on offer?
The XBOX 360WIRELESS SPEED WHEEL that’s what, and I must say when I took it out of the box I was a little underwhelmed by the look of the item (looks like it would be more at home in the plumbing section of my local DIY store!) that is until I used it with FORZA 4 and DIRT 3 then I realised what I had in my hands, at first it took a while to find a comfortable position and get used to the sensitivity but before long I was tearing it up around MONZA and the outback enjoying every twist and turn.
I don`t care what people say about this accessory (a wheel is the wrong description I think) this is a great item for the average gamer who doesn`t want a steering wheel and all the extras taking up space in their living room, ok some folks have complained that it makes your arms ache, but if you rest your elbows on your knees then it isn`t a problem. It does cover the gap between a controller and a steering wheel and it is a bold and innovative move on MICROSOFTS part I think.
You see with driving games as we all know using a controller doesn`t quite do it for many of us, driving a car using your thumbs don`t think so, it`s just not real enough, but with the XBOX 360 SPEED WHEEL that all changes, with the ease of use of a controller, and the feel of a steering wheel (sort of).
I honestly don`t think MICROSOFT are trying to outdo the good conventional steering wheel, it`s more of filling that gap between controller and wheel, and this does the trick. The big wheel manufacturers shouldn’t feel threatened by this accessory, as it is obviously aimed at the average gamer that only plays the occasional driving game.
Let’s face it folks if you take your driving simulation games seriously (and there are a lot of you out there who do) you’re not going to buy one, but if you don’t want to waste £40 on a low end steering wheel that’s about as responsive as dogs pelt, then get one of these you get a well built bit of kit that’s surprisingly good, for the same price. “job done”.
I still don`t understand why MICROSOFT decided to end production of their excellent mounted steering wheel, as this this should not be viewed as a replacement, this is of course, a gap filler and not a credible steering wheel as such, If this is the intention of MICROSOFT then they have made an error as there are still gamers out there, who would prefer a reasonably priced quality conventional wheel, and now we have either cheap alternatives or expensive high end versions. Come on Microsoft give us more choice!
As for the wheel itself it has all the regular buttons and triggers that a controller has and feels good to hold, nice solid built design (not cheap rubbish) and you can put it away without it standing around gathering dust like a wheel would.
Motion sensors and intuitive steering make for a pretty enjoyable experience (once you have got the hang of it) the triggers are the usual Gas and Brake, there is the good old rumble feedback, and all the classic button configuration is there.
What can I say The XBOX 360 WIRELESS STEERING WHELL is indeed an innovative and well built accessory for the right price, and I am impressed for one. The thing I don`t like is that we have no real choice in the matter as to what wheel we have to buy from MICROSOFT, they should have given us a choice of conventional or this one, Don`t get me wrong this is a great device but it`s not a steering wheel, it is just a controller that you can steer with. Hats off to the developers as with the KINECT, MICROSOFT are still breaking new ground and that`s a good thing, as I am sure other gamers would agree we would have liked a choice and we have been denied that.
XBOX 360 Wireless Speed Wheel
Manufacturer : Microsoft
Price : £39.99 (02/12/2011)
Review by Dayvid Ryan