Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to hang out at local arcades and be able to experience gaming in ways that just weren’t possible while I was at home. Besides being able to play games long before they made it to home consoles, it was the draw of being able to play games to their full potential that made the experience so unique. Sadly, now that arcades are becoming more of a memory than a reality, modern gamers having to figure how to recreate that experience in new ways. This is where Logitech’s new G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 comes into play, as it puts that classic experience right in your living room.
At the Starting Line
This of course requires a bit more dedication to a single genre than most people are willing to offer, but that doesn’t take away the level of immersion that someone will find when having a setup like Logitech’s newest wheel. Sadly, a great deal of your experience will also depend on how you actually set up your wheel, as I had tried to mount the G29 to multiple tables and found that the only true way to experience it was to pick up a mount designed for it. While the G29 does come with clamps that can attach to almost any table end, as long as it isn’t too wide but given the strength of its motors, it is best enjoyed being placed on something incredibly sturdy, as you will be applying a great deal of force as you rotate the wheel back and forth.
Given that I have never had the ability to try out the previous G27 wheel, none of this review will be a comparative as to whether you should upgrade or not, but there are a number of cool features that do make this a fantastic option for console gamers over the classic. The first and most notable addition is the G29’s integration with the classic PS3 Driving Force Wheel, which came with a number of controls built into the wheel and help give it a sense that it was actually made with consoles in mind, as you don’t need a separate controller at all. The addition of buttons does break the aesthetics of a genuine steering wheel a bit, but not so much that it gives it the look of a toy, something that’s only amplified once you put your hands on it. It does have some nice touches, especially the blue center line that helps you track zeroing out your wheel’s rotation without having it be overly obtrusive.
The wheel itself does not only feel sturdy, but comfortable. Built using a combination of stainless steel and hand-stitched leather, The G29 does give it a sense of durability and authenticity from the first touch to the last. The PlayStation controls built into the wheel are nice, but are generally inaccessible during a race, which can lead to some issues, mainly if you’re one to use a handbrake. The stock G29 does not come with a gear shifter, only the paddle shifters on the rear of the wheel itself, which will make finding an alternative for handbrake turning something of an issue for some drivers and slightly disappointing especially given the asking price.
Beyond some of the minor hurdles to get started, if you are a fan of racing this is absolutely a great option, as this is one of the best wheels I have tried to date. The force feedback on the wheel can vary significantly and is powerful enough to give some drivers a workout, depending on the racing title you are using. The ability to customize it and its feedback can have a drastic effect on your experience. Trying it with DriveClub, things were lighter and more manageable, but with Project CARS, the degree of tension on the wheel gave the car significantly more weight and let you feel the traction, giving it a more ultra sim feel. Both of which were fun, and completely playable, and were great representations of how versatile the G29 can be, depending on the software running it.
Stepping on It
Thankfully, the G29 pedals are also as durable as the wheel. The steel pedals each have a different level of tension to press, giving it a more true to life feel, as each is trying to mimic the real thing. While the gas pedal can feel a bit light at first, after some use it is easy to see that it works so as to not become tiring to keep the pedal down. Also, the brake pedal itself is raised higher than the gas, which is supposed to help with the heel-toe brake and gas method that advanced drivers use to prevent wheel lock, but not so much that you will find yourself bumping into the side of it.
The foot rest itself would have been nice to have a rubber mat instead of just a textured plastic area to rest your foot, but it does work as the plastic can be surprising comfortable. If you are just placing it on the floor, there is a retractable spiked grip on the bottom to prevent it from moving, but I still found myself needing to place it against something to prevent it from moving. The pedals can be considered a bit close to each other, but any bigger and the whole package might come off as being overly sized and losing some of its manageable sizing.
At the Checkered Flag
One of the biggest concerns I had before trying to use the wheel was how much space was it going to take up. While the wheel and pedals itself are not tiny, it is designed to keep things very much confined to itself and allow things to be routed fairly well. There are slots for cables to be held in place underneath the wheel, as well as a long power cable. But the USB cable which attached to your gaming machine could stand to be a bit longer, especially if you plan on routing it with the rest of the cabling required to get it to work and aren’t using a desk setup.
Racing fans who really want to take their virtual racing to the next level will find that Logitech’s G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel is a fantastic option with enough power and versatility to really drive the experience forward. Its asking price of $399.99 is a bit steep, considering some of the minor issues I had with it and that you will need something to mount it on that can handle the work out it is sure to give you. But, given that you are able to get an almost true-to-life arcade style setup that can work across a wide variety of games and handles each wonderfully, this is going to be a purchase that hardcore racing fans are not going to regret anytime soon.
G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel for the PS4 and PS3 was provided by Logitech. Find out more information on our Review Policy here.