Lots of people on here have asked one and the same question in the run-up to Forza 3's release: "Should I buy a steering wheel for FM3, or not?" This thread is to help determine which wheel would be best suited for you. First we need to set a few things straight, because you need to take into account a couple of things before you decide to take the plunge:
- A passion for racing games (so you may use the wheel for other racing games as well)
- General racing know-how (braking points, racing lines, manually shifting, etc.)
- Some space to set it up (consult with the missus, where applicable!)
- A fairly heavy/solid table to attach it to (for maximum FFb effectiveness)
The Logitech DriveFX wheel is the budget choice, with a price around £30. It's good enough if you don't play that many racing games, but want one regardless without spending too much money on it. In that case, this would be the perfect step-in model. Comes close in quality to the official Microsoft 360 wheel, but feels a bit cheaper because most of its parts are made of plastic. Its FFb isn't actually true FFb either, but surrogate, by guesses FFb by using rumble signals, which means you won't feel steering resistance when there's no rumble going on. It has no wireless* connection, as it connects to the Xbox 360 via USB.
The Official Microsoft wireless Xbox 360 steering wheel is where it's at if you take your racing games more seriously, and you're looking for a wheel that offers affordable quality, for a price around £70. The wheel itself is better built than the Logitech one, with stronger (true) FFb and the pedals feel nice and springy, although a tad light. In all, it gives you a great racing experience. It connects to the Xbox 360 wirelessly*.
The Fanatec Porsche Turbo wheel is the wheel to end all wheels. Or something. Forza Motorsport 3 has been designed with this baby in mind, and it is the only one that comes with a clutch pedal. You think Forza 3 will take over your life? Got money to dispose of? Play loads of racing sims? For around £400, this beauty is yours. Some say it feels incredibly well made, which you may expect for that price. It connects wirelessly* to the Xbox 360 as well. Here's the full feature list:
- Original Porsche 911 Turbo steering wheel design
- Licensed by Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft GmbH
- Authentic metal Porsche logo on wheel
- Hand stitched leather wheel manufactured according to Porsche quality standards
- Also compatible with PC and Playstation 3 (all games which support ForceFeedback wheels)
- 6+1 Speed gear stick with realistic shifting feel
- Additional exchangeable sequential gear stick included
- Wireless pedals with + 100 hours battery life time (low battery warning on display and optional power supply cable for simulators)
- Realistic clutch pedal with declining resistance
- Diameter of wheel is 300 millimeters
- Gear sticks are interchangeable and can be mounted on the left or right side
- Turning angle can be adjusted in the wheel to 900°, 360° or 180° or in 1° steps by software
- Play with table: Strong table clamps with quick release, special non-slip rubber pads, and Velcro strips on the pedals keep everything in place. Integrated nuts allow the strong fixation on a gaming cockpit
- Play without table: Attachable lap wings and the attachment of the gear sticks to the wheel allow comfortable gameplay in the living room without the use of a table
- Illuminated button symbols switch automatically between PC and Playstation
- Powerful Mabuchi RS 550 Motor as used in RC cars delivers extra strong ForceFeedback effects
- Additional 2 ForceFeedback actuators in the wheel simulate motor vibrations
- Extra smooth and silent belt drive without mechanical dead zone
- High resolution wheel sensor
- TUNING functions with LED display
- Saves up to 5 wheel set-ups
- Adjust ForceFeedback strength during game play
- Adjust sensitivity independent from the game
*All wheels need to be connected to the mains for the FFb to work. The official MS wheel works on batteries as well, but at the loss of FFb.
PS. Do not play racing games with the FFb wheel on your lap. It may result in uncontrolled bouncing.