Sony PlayStation Move Racing Wheel review: Sony simplifies racing-wheel setup

In Burnout Paradise, the Move Racing Wheel steers the cars available in the game, with the right trigger serving as the accelerator. The left trigger conveniently puts the car in reverse. As with the standard PS3 controller, the square button hits the brakes and the X activates boost. With this game in particular, it helps to support elbows on knees or another surface, as it quickly gets out of control trying to hold the wheel aloft while steering.

For the motorcycles in Burnout Paradise, I opened out the handles to better simulate handlebars. Instead of turning the wheel, the game supported me holding it flat and angling it down to either side, resulting in my virtual rider leaning to right or left into a turn. However, keeping a steady line with the motorcycle proved very difficult due to the loose nature of the wheel.

Sony PlayStation Move Racing Wheel
With the handles folded out, the Move Racing Wheel simulated motorcycle handle bars. James Martin/CNET

The controls went a little haywire when I tried to select different vehicles from the junkyard. Any minor tilt of the Move Racing Wheel caused the cars in the selection strip to zip by. Similarly, once I had chosen a vehicle, accidentally tilting the wheel shot through all the different paint options. On this screen, it worked best to set the wheel down and just use the directional buttons to choose a car.

The simulator
The precision of the Move Racing Wheel really stood out in Gran Turismo 5. The game's strong simulation supports delicate steering adjustments, which I was able to enact with slight movements of the wheel. That precision made the game very enjoyable and gave the experience a somewhat immersive quality, especially when using the in-cabin view for the cars.

The default button mapping, similar to that of the standard PS3 controller, doesn't work very well, as the X button is the accelerator. That means acceleration is either on or off, with nothing in between, and the same with the braking. Using manual shifting, it is even more of a mess, as you shift using the triggers.

I remapped the buttons to use the right trigger for acceleration and the left for braking, which also let me take advantage of the paddles built onto the sides of the wheel's inner circle. With the paddles mapped as the shifters, manual shifting became almost usable. The paddles are positioned a little low, and I had to stretch my fingers away from the handles to hit them. Ultimately, my manual dexterity became stretched to its limits, when trying to use fingers on the triggers for braking and acceleration, and other fingers on the paddles for shifts, all while trying to hold the handles to steer the car. Maybe an F1 driver could do it smoothly, but not me.

The Move Racing Wheel itself had no built-in force feedback, although I could feel it vibrating a bit as I went over rumble strips on the track apexes. That vibration was coming from the Move baton inserted into the wheel, the feedback from which was imperfectly transmitted through the wheel to my hands.

Microsoft released its Wireless Speed Wheel for the Xbox 360 last year, lapping Sony's Move Racing Wheel release. Microsoft's wheel has the advantage of not requiring an additional controller bundle, and includes a built-in rumble function. However, there is little point in comparing the two, since they are wedded to different gaming systems.

Sony's Move Racing Wheel is a big step up from the standard PS3 controller for racing games, as it does a better job of modulating steering. I was impressed with how well it worked in the games with which I tested it. If you already have a Move motion controller system and enjoy racing games, I would recommend it. However, it is no substitute for a fixed-wheel system when it comes to hard-core racing simulation.

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Sony PlayStation Move Racing Wheel

Part Number: 99039
MSRP: $39.99 Low Price: $29.69 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Connectivity Technology wireless
  • Compatibility Game console