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Every petrolhead dreams of that perfect setup. Real cockpit, quality wheel and gear shift - all twinned with a console that can deliver the experience to match the hardware.
So I went and bought what has to be the most expensive peripheral around. This is supposed to be the best driving combination available, the Bugatti Veyron of game controllers. A no compromise approach from Logitech and a top notch accompaniment from Game Racer that go together to become the next best thing to actually driving a real car? Well almost. So here are my thoughts after one week of ownership.
The setup consists of a 'real' racing seat (not quite as real as the real ones in my hillclimb car, but nevertheless quite convincing) which is mounted on a steel frame with further mounts for the steering controller and pedal box and a third for the gearstick controller. The frame is adjustable for leg and arm length but is definitely aimed at adult sizes as my kids require extra cushions in order to reach the pedals. The Logitech G25 controller has been around for a while now, but is very solid and well finished. Not quite a Bugatti Veyron in the flesh. More like a Mondeo Ghia X.
There are distinct advantages to this set up. Firstly nothing slips around when you play, which is probably the most annoying thing about regular controllers. I am no longer getting distracted by the accelerator sliding away from me at that crucial slip streaming moment or missing an apex because my thighs refuse to grip any longer. Secondly, the G25 has 900 degree steering which really makes a difference in tight corners. Playing GT5 Prologue you can really get absorbed in the game play, changing up through the six speed gearbox with ease and catching that power oversteer as you give it a little too much throttle out of the bends.
The downsides are that it is physically very big and requires setting up and packing away (and also requires having somewhere to pack it away!). Another slight annoyance is the USB cable which is really too short for this application and perhaps an extension cable would have been a nice touch. The gearstick mount also needed a little modification, in the shape of a small piece of Lego, to stay on the mount properly but was an easy fix.
Being in a completely different seat somehow separates me from the rest of world, a place I can let go and drive in a manner which would get me in a lot of trouble in the real world, a place that I think I quite like.
So I am sat in my racing seat and firing up my latest PS3 driving game and I feel good! It feels like I have really got some time to myself. Being in a completely different seat somehow separates me from the rest of world, a place I can let go and drive in a manner which would get me in a lot of trouble in the real world, a place that I think I quite like. I can become Colin McRae or the Stig or Lewis Hamilton to my hearts content in a more convincing way than ever before.
If you love driving games then you will love this combination, it is the best home setup you can get and is very enjoyable to use. Like most enjoyable things however, it is fairly impractical, your wife will moan about it, and it costs way too much to buy. I still have no regrets.
In my weaker moments and I'll admit that this is way too big for my lounge, and is a little extravagent being more expensive than the PS3 itself. But what the heck! This is what mid life crisis' were made for and I love it.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
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