Thrustmaster Enzo Ferrari 2-in-1 (PC/PS2)
For decades, the Ferrari brand has been synonymous with high-performance craftsmanship and quality construction in the automobile industry. Ferrari automobiles are built to exacting standards and specialize in delivering one thing: luxury performance to a select crowd of enthusiasts. The Thrustmaster Enzo Ferrari 2-in-1 strays slightly from that Ferrari tradition by attempting to appeal to a wider audience in both the PC and console racing crowds. The result is a well-built PC/PS2 racing wheel that should appeal to casual racers but won't do enough to satisfy the truly hard-core.
First and foremost, the Ferrari racing wheel's lack of force-feedback support counts against it in the PC market, which has come to rely on force feedback as an important factor to differentiate it from the heavily populated console racing scene. While the wheel does contain vibration support for PS2 games, the timid vibration effect isn't really convincing, especially when trading paint in-game with opponents or other objects that might get in your way.
The wheel is sturdily constructed but not heavy enough to damage your desk or PC should you accidentally drop it. The wheel's tendency to snap back to the center provides just enough weighty resistance to feel good, especially when navigating tight chicanes that require quick response. Installation is a breeze as well; simply connect the steering unit with the gas and brake pedal component, then plug the combined unit into either your PC's USB port or your PS2's controller port or USB port. Attaching the wheel to a desk or a tabletop is a cinch, too, using the wheel's easy-to-use table clamp. The rubber material at the wheel's 3 and 9 o'clock positions feels nice, though it would have been better to have the same material around the entire circumference of the wheel.
The Thrustmaster Ferrari wheel contains six mappable controller buttons (four corresponding to the square, circle, triangle, and cross buttons on the PS2 controller, plus two extras), F1-style sequential gearshift paddles, Select and Start buttons, a directional pad for navigating PS2 game menus, and a toggle button to choose between two-axis control (when using the wheel only) and three-axis control (when combining the wheel with the included brake-and-gas-pedal board) or to toggle on and off the vibration function.
When using the two-axis control setup, you'll be able to take advantage of the wheel's analog paddles, located just under the gearshift controls on either side of the wheel. This is a welcome option because the gas and brake pedals don't feel as solidly constructed or as properly weighted as the steering unit does. In addition, the rubber pads found underneath the pedal board don't provide enough grip on carpet, and the unit will slowly inch forward as you play the game, especially if you use the brakes as vigorously as we do.
While the four PS2 buttons in the center portion of the wheel are easily accessible, the shoulder buttons--which will most commonly be mapped to "look left" and "look right" in PC racing games--seem awkwardly placed. With your hands placed in the standard "10 and 2" driving position, to access these buttons you have to flare your hand out slightly to reach them with your thumb, which is an awkward stretch, especially while in the middle of a race. It would have been nice to have these buttons placed slightly higher on the wheel, even directly under the thumb, for quicker access.
In the end, the Thrustmaster Enzo Ferrari 2-in-1 racing wheel will appeal to casual racing fans who enjoy turning laps on both the PC and the PS2. Anyone looking for a more-focused attention on realism, especially in terms of tactile feedback, might be better served elsewhere.