Gran Turismo 5 is finally out! You want to play with a wheel, donâ€™t you? TOO BAD. Thereâ€™s a massive shortage right now thanks to late adopters, people needing replacements (like me. I apologise to the rest of you short one), and those that bought early to give out as gifts. Donâ€™t you wish you had a friend or relative willing to drop oodles of cash on peripherals? I do. But only if they buy the right ones! If youâ€™re just starting out and want a quality wheel with lots of features, you canâ€™t go wrong with the Logitech Driving Force GT.
For a reasonable $149.99 USD, the wheel has full 900 degree rotation â€“ you can spin it around 2.5 times before it locks â€“ and comfortable rubber grips that donâ€™t feel cheap. Though I often race with gloves on, which is not entirely for immersion, rather because I love my wheel and donâ€™t want to sweat on it, the rubber grip is extremely comfortable through long play sessions. I wish the dimensions of it were a little larger, but thatâ€™s easily forgotten as youâ€™re flying around the NÃ¼rburgring, feeling every bump in the road as you slide your car around corners, feeling exactly how far you can push it before your wheel grip gives out. For the record, this is why people get wheels. They can be overkill for most arcade-style racers, but anything that even pretends to be a sim can benefit greatly from a wheel. I sometimes wonder if picking one up before I learned how to drive would have made things any easier. It was easy as is, but it probably helps establish a comfort level with any other wheel and how to vary foot pressure on pedals. If nothing else, it effortlessly demonstrates whether a car is over or understeering.
The Driving Force GT is considered more on the basic side of sim racing wheels due to its lack of a clutch, no paddle shifts (or flappy paddles, as you may better know them), and the decision to bolt the sequential shifter to the right side. Advanced wheels will often have the flappy paddles and a detached H-Shifter, for that real car feel. Not all cars are left-hand drive, especially supercars, and hardcore players want to keep things as true to life as possible in oneâ€™s living room. The main benefit of the DFGTâ€™s sequential shifter, aside from being accurate for certain rally cars, stems from not having to worry about what to do when youâ€™re in a car and need to hit 7th gear. Done. No mapping â€˜gear upâ€™ to a wheel button to compensate. Granted, thatâ€™s not something youâ€™re going to run into terribly often 🙂
My main beef here involves the plastic pedals. Itâ€™s not an expensive wheel, I know, but some weight or some grip on the base would have been extremely beneficial. You could claim that this lets people customise their base to their local setup, but it feels a little lazy, too. Itâ€™s not a bad idea, if not downright necessary, to get some weight behind it or youâ€™ll end up driving like I do: since thereâ€™s no clutch I use my left foot to anchor it as best I can, and curl my top right toes around the gas pedal to pull it towards me when I have the chance on some straightaways. Itâ€™s a completely unconscious maneuver to me now, but worth mentioning to potential buyers.
There are some very good reasons Iâ€™m choosing the Driving Force GT as my go-to â€˜middle of the roadâ€™ wheel. Being a GT product, the horn has the Gran Turismo logo front and centre, itâ€™s completely compatible with Gran Turismo Prologue and 5. You donâ€™t have to fiddle with a single thing, unless you want to re-arrange some buttons or tone down the force feedback. As a silly-yet-awesome perk, the horn works. Not locally, of course, so you donâ€™t bother anyone else in your space, but digitally you can annoy other racers as much as you please. That is not a reason to buy the wheel, the 24-position dial is. While ordinary people have to select and lock in their driving setups before the race, you get to adjust the important stuff on the fly, while driving! ABS, traction control and other driver assists can be tuned up or down, depending on how you find the car reacting under you. Itâ€™s almost unfair, really, and itâ€™ll be a feature Iâ€™m sure to miss when I inevitably upgrade a year from now.
PC Compatibility is the main reason that I want to upgrade. DFGT connect through USB (and has to be plugged into the wall), so itâ€™s simple to move to your desk, especially if you have space since the built in clamps are strong. I havenâ€™t pinned down the cause of my issue, but though the PC drivers claim to be working fine on Win7 Ultimate (64-bit), I have to manually adjust the bias so Iâ€™m not swinging right all the time. I donâ€™t mean a little right, either. I mean that any gas and my car will dive to the right as close to 90 degrees as the carâ€™s turning radius will allow. This makes racing difficult. Note that this is absolutely a personal issue and does not appear to be endemic with the wheel.
The Driving Force GT is worth the price and, honestly, you may never go back to racing with a controller again. Be warned: itâ€™s a gateway drug. Next youâ€™re going to want a racing seat.
Jenn Cutter focuses on all aspects of gaming and gaming accessories with Hak5. She has also appeared on G4TechTV, CP24, HowTo Australia, and TVTokyo when not working on her side-project, OpenAlpha.tv. When not writing or dreaming about gaming, she’s playing hockey and saying ‘eh’, like all stereotypical Canadians