Logitech G27 Racing Wheel Review

Logitech G37 Racing Wheel

For those of you that know me well, you know that racing is one of my favorite activities to do not just in the gaming world but in real life as well. As far as reality goes, I’ve owned a track ready racing Mustang since 2004. I’ve been racing cars since about 1997 both on the street and at the track. The first time I ever raced a professional racing go-kart was about 1989. The first racing games I’ve played were Pole Position and Pit Stop 1 and 2 on the c64. The first arcade racing game I’ve ever played was Sega’s Outrun with the arcade console feeling like a car with pedals, steering wheel, and shifter. I’ve played almost every racing game ever made from games like RC Pro AM on NES, the Top Gear series on SNES, Lotus series on Amiga, Chase HQ on the arcade, Jaguar XJ 220 on the Amiga, Grand Prix Legends on PC, every Trackmania game on PC, every Need For Speed game on PC and consoles, every Codemasters racing game ever made, etc. I was ranked in the top 10 US players for Trackmania Nations when they were doing the world championship for the game.

Today I will look at Logitech’s G27 Racing Wheel. It is designed to be used with PC and with the Playstation 3 console.

rfactor

Setup – Installation and Software:

The installation on the PS3 is basically a plug and play procedure. For PC, you simply install the software from the drivers CD that comes with the unit. Shortly after installing the software and drivers you get prompted to plug in the wheel to one of your USB ports and it will be detected. You will know that the wheel is detected because it will spin like a bat out of hell for about two to three seconds and it will flash the tachometer RPM lights. After that, you can calibrate the wheel if it is needed. Once you’re done doing that, you’re ready to use it. Configuration and sub-calibration can be done through whatever game you are going to play.

The Wheel also comes with (RFactor) which is a very popular racing simulator.

Logitech-G27-full-set

Setup – Assembly and Physical Installation:

The first thing you want to do is connect all the subcomponents of the wheel to the main wheel unit. This means that you will plug in the pedals, shifter console, and AC adapter unit. After you have done so, you may need to assess your gaming desk area to make sure you have enough physical space to mount the wheel properly to a desk or table as well as find a comfortable chair and distance to your TV or monitor. You also want to make sure that all cables are tucked away so that they don’t interfere as you use the controller.

Both the wheel and shifter have plastic screws which you can use to secure them to the edge of your desk or table. I have found that they can slide off sometimes if the bottom surface of your desk doesn’t have the right kind of surface for them to stick to. I wish Logitech would have added a rubber surface of the plastic area that holds the controller in place. To me without such a surface friction it is easy for the controller to become loose while using it. Since I’m a low-tech-fix kind of guy, this isn’t much of a problem. I recommend to either glue a thin rubber piece to each plastic end or the even easier fix is to use a piece of cardboard in between the surfaces (just make sure you screw the plastic screws as tight as possible).

You might have to be careful as well with the pedals because the bottom is plastic as well. Since I have a tile floor all over my house I had to use a small portable rug to place it under the pedals as well as putting a heavy object behind the pedals to keep them from slipping further (remember you’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on them with your feet).

Once you have setup the wheel as needed, the fun starts!

trackmania-nations-forever

Test On Multiple Racing Games:

I tested the wheel on RFactor, Dirt 2, Dirt 3, Dirt Showdown, Grid, Trackmania United, Trackmania Nations, F1 2010, F1 2011, and F1 2012. For most of the games the wheel was enabled through the game options of the game if it didn’t automatically detect it and set it as the default control method. You can enable the motion feedback to get a more real feel of driving a real car with the resistance would feel in a real steering wheel. I found that with the G27 it was more enjoyable to do so after first of calibrating it to feel as you need it to based on your driving style. Also, it was overall more enjoyable on racing games which are more simulator than arcade style racing games. Simulators need exactness, whereas most arcade racers can be played even with keyboard or a cheap handheld controller.

Using a racing wheel on games like the Codemasters F1 games is almost necessary. I found it nearly unplayable to play such games using just a pure keyboard. With a racing wheel such as the G27 it becomes a real F1 car that you’re driving rather than a musclecar like it would feel with a primitive controller. It’s all about precision when you use a wheel. For this reason although we have the computer technology to do it, we still use a pedal and steering wheel in real cars as opposed to using joysticks like a normal video game controller or the controller for an RC car.

Logitech-G27-Racing-Wheel

Construction and Feel:

The materials used in the G27 are sturdy and it feels almost like you are racing using a aftermarket racing wheel like a Momo steering wheel for a racecar. Although most of the parts are plastic the G27 is durable under most wear and tear situations.

The shifter is both soft and sturdy. I would compare it to using a shifter in a manual Japanese car like Honda Prelude or Nissan Skyline. The wheel itself has flappy paddles which can be used to much like in a real Ferrari or Lamborghini. It is a matter of personal preference and the G27 provides both the flappy paddles and the normal manual shifter. The wheel part has an LED tachometer, which is color coated green, yellow, and red, which makes using a manual gearbox a more viable option in your game.

Since the pedals are made out of drilled metal it feels like the pedals found in a modified street car or a racecar. As they are sturdy, it’s no problem to push down on them as hard as you can, if need be. With the inclusion of a clutch pedal that’s highly responsive you can power drift to your hearts content if you want to drive like that.

logitech g27

Conclusion and Recommendations:

If you are serious about playing racing simulators I recommend a wheel like the G27 to get the precision you need for competitive racing.

A racing wheel system like this one works extremely well when paired up with the Playseat chairs that are ideal for having a sturdy armature that keeps your controllers in place and gives you a much more realistic car feel. I haven’t tested the G27 with a Playseat chair but I have used a chair like that at multiple game conventions and they do make a huge difference and are much more favorable over using a regular chair and desk/table for setting up a racing wheel.

The G27 costs about $200 retail so it might be outside the budget for many gamers but then again there aren’t that many racing simulation gamers out there anymore and those that are into that genre are always concerned with having as good of a controller as possible to be able to execute precise maneuvers.

Games Coming Out May 2010 For PC

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Games Coming Out May 2010 For PC by Honorabili

April was a slow month for PC gaming. Let’s see what May 2010 has to offer us…

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, May 3

A lot of people enjoy these cute Lego games. Not just kids but I’ve seen a lot of adults playing them as well, simply because they are well made and fun. Harry Potter is still popular so it’s a good move for them to release this LEGO game.

Split Second, May 18

This looks like a Burnout clone. Could still be fun though…

Blur, May 25

And this one reminds me of a clone of both Burnout and Trackmania. Let’s see if it lives up to its hype. [update: It didn’t. Split Second is MUCH BETTER!]

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Not much else reported for now. Keep checking back on this article as I will update it if I hear of anything else coming out.

Trackmania

trackmania sunrise
typical in-game screenshot of Trackmania

Trackmania game series reviewed by Honorabili

 

One Sentence Review:

“The only racing game you’ll ever need… until part 2 comes out. =P”

 

Overall Score:

10 out of 10

 

Overview:

Trackmania is pretty much the most played racing game series in the history of PC gaming. Most people in the US don’t know it because it’s from French developer Nadeo. Also since it’s mainly a pure PC racing game (although a Nintendo DS version was released) most of the console crowd (where most people who play racing games are) never heard of it. Sure, people might play Need For Speed whichever is the newest at the time but after a month they will probably never play it again. With Trackmania, since the game has been around since 2003, and now in its 4th game “United” one can just not play it for a while and revisit it months/years later with tons of new content and the game never disappoints. There’s even the free version “Nations” which anybody can pick up. The game consists of racing online against over 5 million players across the world. There’s multiple ladders ranging from your state or country depending on where you are from. There are championships, some even with cash rewards. You get in game money which you can use to design your own tracks, buy tracks from other players/websites, buy new skins for your car, buy music for your tracks, new horns, new pictures, etc. It’s all in good fun and the game does not allow cheating in the form of ramming other people off the road as all cars drive through each other.

There’s different vehicles each with their own driving style and track styles. American muscle cars, 4×4 SUVs, and mini rally cars are the ones included in the original Trackmania game. Island super cars, Bay SUVs that are quick but can flip, and Coast drifting cars which require the most skill and drive like they have 4 flat tires are the ones included in the 2nd game Trackmania Sunrise. Stadium formula cars are the only ones available in the 3rd and free game Trackmania Nations. All car modes are available in Trackmania United.

All the expansions for the game are released for free and even the free players from Nations can play with people on United under the same ladder system.

The tracks in the game in general are something that puts Unreal Tournament to shame as you will see loops and jumps that will make your jaw drop. The speed of the game is usually on terms with other hardcore reflex racing games such as F-Zero and Wipeout.

Fun Factor:

This is one of the few games from a handful where I will forget to eat while playing it and then many hours later will finally get up and have a reality check. I sometimes keep myself from playing it if I have too many other games in my que because I know I will just forget about them if I start up with Trackmania again. Trackmania kind of became an online MMO racing game and in that sense it’s light-years ahead of other MMOs in the sense that you will not waste time looking for group or some other bullshit. You click to race and 2-3 seconds later after the track loads in 3 more seconds you’re in a race. No bullshit. Considering that I forget to eat while playing this game I would say that it’s an awful lot of fun, so I will give it a 10 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

Even trying to get a top time in practice for a track can be challenging. When you go online and you keep building up your rank, eventually you will get to the top leagues and have to face people that are really really good drivers. I play my racing games on keyboard, although people cry havoc since a wheel and pedals is much easier but I’ve still schooled people have that 200 dollars or more invested in controllers. Anybody stands a chance so long as you have the skill, so I’m quite fond of these games for that. The game will get as hard as you want it to so in this category, I give it the max also, 10 out of 10. Believe me, when you’re trying to beat a world record and somebody you live with or the phone rings and it costs you the world record, it will drive you NUTS!

Value:

You can buy the original game for $1-5 almost anywhere that will stock it. Sunrise is not as easy to find anymore but you can probably get it for $10. Nations is FREE so if you’re not playing it, you’re missing out completely. United can be bought from $20-40 depending on whether it’s on sale or not. The more games you link to your account the more in game money Nadeo gives you. Considering how inexpensive the games are and how it is just a permanent game to play, the value of the trackmania games is the best possible. I give value a 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

These games have unlimited content. New tracks get made every day since 2003. Clans rise and fall in the community for it. In the ashes of the fallen, we still have sometimes hundreds of tracks that created racing legends. Let’s just say that lately I’ve been playing Dirt 2 and I’ve been looking forward to beating it so that I can go back to playing Trackmania a game I have literally logged over 1000 hours for. Replayability gets a 10 out of 10.

Sound:

The only part that I can really bitch about is that the sound sometimes for some of the cars sound kind of generic. Some sound really badass like the super car or the rally car but the rest are just okay to me. Some sounds like the turbo boost section of the track are fun to hear the booming because you know you just hit nitro! I give the sound a 7 out of 10.

Music:

The music can get repetitive, although it’s all pretty funky. Since people make their own stuff, it’s interesting to see what “radio station” a clan might have playing that day. The multitasking alt-tab of the game is godlike so you can just lower the volume bar at the top right with the mouse and load up your favorite racing music like any Juno Reactor or Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird or Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down A Dream, for instance. I give the music a 7 out of 10 only because I’m sick of it.

Graphics:

All the trackmania games have always looked amazing. They make most other games look like shit and considering how fast the game runs and how efficient the netcode is, I’m always and have always been impressed by them. The first time I ran the game on an ATI 3870 it made me want to cry. Graphics gets a 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game has never crashed since we started playing them since 2003. An obvious score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

Simple controls and great gameplay make a classic. Just the arrow keys and the reset buttons are all you really need other than 1-3 for camera controls. Good job! 10 out of 10.

Performance:

Considering the graphic nature of these games and the amazing physics behind them, and the godlike netcode, the performance is astounding. I will give it a 9 out of 10 because in super high settings the game will begin to lag but that’s to be expected.

My history with this game:

My friends and I have been playing Trackmania since it first came out in 2003. We had countless LAN parties where we would basically try to win but at the same time use the in game chat and type “COCK” and some other braindead shit to try to make the other players die. Since you can mod the looks of your car, horns, picture of your avatar, etc. my brother even went so far as to paint his cars pink, put a picture of a tranny, and put a clip of Ru Paul going “you betta work!!!”. That made the game extremely DIFFICULT to play considering he would sneak up on us racing and sound his “horn”. I can’t wait to play Trackmania 2 and I always recommend Trackmania games to any true lovers of speed and driving.