I’m a gaming dad with two children so it sometimes becomes difficult to find time to slip in my guilty gaming pleasures. Finding the time to pick up a controller and playing a little something can be a tough task, never mind using any type of peripheral but recently I had the opportunity to get my hands on Mad Catz’s newly design Wireless Force Feedback Racing Wheel for the Xbox 360 console.
I broke open the box and saw this glorious new toy so I quickly slapped it together and plugged it into the outlet while the kiddies weren’t around to take out to the open road. I think it’s important to this review include being a gaming dad, as I feel there are many of us out there that wish we had the opportunity or option to play with more peripherals then we do but find it hard to do so with a family and children. The first thing I noticed about the Mad Catz’s Racing Wheel was that it was a quality product. It all looked and felt very solid, nothing tacky like some lower price peripherals. With a hefty price tag of $249.99 this is what you should expect when you open up the box of a high end piece of merchandise.
The actual steering wheel itself is made out of metal giving you the feel of actually climbing behind the wheel of your dream machine. On the inside of the steering wheel, you’ll find everything you need to navigate around your menus of the game with a d-pad and basic A, B, X, Y button layout. This also gives you the opportunity to use the steering wheel while racing without having to use the pedals if you choose to do so. There are even two circle buttons behind the D-pad and face buttons that act as the press in buttons on your analog sticks.
However, some people might look at this wheel and feel that it doesn’t meet their expectations. Unlike the steering wheel the plastic gas and break pedals does cheapen the feel a bit but not enough to ruin your experience. The pedals themselves have rubber on top for better grip for your feet as well as rubber grips on the bottom of the base to stop it from moving. The rubber at the bottom works well on my carpet floor but if you’re going to use the pedals on a hard floor you might want to have something in front of them to keep it in place. Everything else that makes up the pedals and base are all plastic. The desk clamp is all plastic which makes is slick on smooth surfaces. I suppose complete metal products would raise the price tag even more.
Once hooked up I took my first test drive in Forza 4 and it worked fantastic. This is a strong statement but it made me never what to go back to a controller again. The experience was just that great. The force feedback is exceptional strong and gives you the feeling of really being on a race track. The grips felt great, and the plastic doesn’t become and issue the slightest bit. Even the breaks, while made of plastic, do the job well. After driving in fully automatic for a quite a while I decided to switch it up and try out manual.
You can actually choose which side you would like to mount the gear stick on depending on your preference which is a wonderful option. If you struggle using the gear stick but still prefer to race manual you also have the option of using the paddle shifters behind the wheel; something authentic to most performance super cars. Personally I preferred the paddle shifters over the stick since they just seemed to be easier to use and give you a better super car experience.
After testing the Mad Catz Force Feedback Racing Wheel for as many hours as I could get in, I found the wheel to be exceptional. It performed perfectly with Forza 4 and just as well with a few other test games like Driver San Francisco and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Apart from the hefty price tag and the unfortunately cheap feeling pedals, the wheel is a definite winner. The quality is great, but I just wish the amount of love given to the steering wheel was also addressed to the lower end pedals. Don’t let this detour you from giving this wheel a chance. The biggest downfall for Mad Catz is going to be the amount of cash you will have to put down to bring this new toy home. Madcatz definitely paid attention to detail in their new wheel and is something any driving enthusiast or gamer has to experience for themselves.Add to favorites