Logitech Driving Force Pro (PS2) review:

Logitech Driving Force Pro (PS2)

Even though the gas and brake pedals aren't loose, they could still probably use a bit more resistance to feel properly weighted. The pedal board itself features a combination of rubber grips and pointed plastic grooves to keep the board from sliding on carpet or hardwood floors. In our time with the unit, we didn't experience any unnecessary slippage, even with vigorous use of both pedals.

The 900-degree wheel rotation, available in supported games only, is a nice feature for negotiating those tight hairpin turns. Games that do not support 900-degree wheel movement will default to the more traditional 200-degree setup. In GT4, this two-and-a-half-turn capability makes driving the cars an even more convincing experience, especially when combined with the wheel's remarkably responsive force-feedback support.

If there's a single Gran Turismo 4 experience that best exemplifies the thrilling force-feedback capabilities of the Logitech Driving Force Pro, it's a license test held on the back straight at LeMans--a nearly four-mile stretch of asphalt during which your car will reach speeds in excess of 230mph. As you approach top speed, your car will begin to lose adhesion on the road, and you'll watch as your car, responding to small undulations on the road, skips laterally across the pavement as if dancing on ice. Better yet, you'll be literally fighting your car to stay in a straight line at such ludicrous speeds, as the Logitech Driving Force Pro's force feedback perfectly captures each lateral push and bounce, rocking the wheel violently from side to side. We can say that, without a doubt, it's one of the most thrilling video-game racing sensations we've ever felt.

Force feedback doesn't always have to be so...ahem...forceful to make an impression, however. Another truly impressive aspect of the Driving Force Pro's force-feedback support in GT4 is its subtlety. All of the different road imperfections and variations that you run into in the game are deftly translated to your hands through the wheel, from the bumpy trackside speed strips to the railroad tracks you cross over when racing on the Seattle course. The game's vaunted physics model that deftly pushes cars into tire- screeching drifts or unfortunate spins comes across well through the wheel's resistance to turning against the car's momentum.

If there are any points against the Driving Force Pro's force-feedback system, it's that the wheel is almost too resistant to rotation, especially when coming out of turns. Unlike driving a real car where, when exiting a turn, the wheel naturally returns to its center position without much input from the driver, the Driving Force Pro doesn't seem responsive enough when returning to the center. You may need to force it when navigating a series of tight chicanes. Also, although you will feel some response when colliding with competitors on the track, the force-feedback response tends to ignore heavy contact with walls and other stationary obstacles.

The Logitech Driving Force Pro is the definition of a racing enthusiast's peripheral. While the list of games supported by the wheel is extensive and reaches far into the PS2 back catalog of racers, a smaller number of those games support force feedback and only a handful support the wheel-specific 900-degree rotation features. Furthermore, the force-feedback support found in games such as Burnout 3 and TOCA Race Driver 2, two non-GT games we tested with the wheel, doesn't come close to the kind of subtle and complete feedback found in Gran Turismo 4. As such, the wheel is specifically designed for GT fanatics who are looking to make the most out of their racing sessions. For that select group willing to cope with a fairly hefty price tag, they will find a wheel that is responsive, attractive, and sturdy; one that does what any great driving wheel should do: greatly improve the virtual driving experience.

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