We love our car games, and we’re not alone judging by how many of them there are out there. From full-on simulator to arcade romps, give us four wheels and a controller and we’re off. But give us a proper steering wheel and pedals controller? It just got real…
Logitech have released several steering rigs over the years, but their latest, the G923, tops the lot. This is a serious bit of kit, even if you don’t have to play serious with it. After all, you can do things onscreen that you’d likely never do off them, from wild J-turns to donut mania. The difference in controlling games such as our test cases of Gran Turismo Sport, GRID and Assetto Corsa Competizione (we’re still too scared to return to DiRT Rally 2.0) with a steering rig rather than controller is incredible. Sure, you’re still parked in front of a screen, but the tactility of actually steering via a wheel, and being able to gently put on the power – or slam the pedal to the metal – is something else.
Setting up the G923 couldn’t be easier. One power pack, one USB cable and another cable to connect the pedals to the wheel unit. We had it all ready to race in a couple of minutes. As for mounting the unit, there are two solid, lockdown screws that allow the steering unit to be attached to surfaces up to around three centimetres thick. It should be noted that any such surface will need to be square sided – a tip that we picked up after failing to attach the unit to a round chair (d’oh!). Anyway, if you tend to really get into your racing it needs to be mounted to a solid surface such as a heavy table, but you may find that many are too thick to accept the G923. Some more leeway here would have been handy. Of course, if you have the space you could always invest in a racing seat and mounting rig…
The wheel itself is better presented than in many cars that you’ll find on the road. A striking combination of hand-stitched leather and aluminium, it houses all the PlayStation 4 buttons (an Xbox One version is also available separately) along with a handy LED rev meter and two sturdy aluminium flappy paddles for gear changing. If you’re one to always stick to automatic gearing when playing, you may find yourself graduating to manual thanks to the ease of the functionality that these offer. Plus, why let that shiny aluminium clutch pedal feel left out?
“Sure, you’re still parked in front of a screen, but the tactility of actually steering via a wheel, and being able to gently put on the power – or slam the pedal to the metal – is something else.”
Ah yes, the pedals. Logitech have done a brilliant job of recreating the real thing, allowing all the stuff you’d do in real life that just doesn’t quite cut it on a standard controller, including a great new progressive brake pedal. Feather the accelerator, heel-and-toe, dump the clutch – the pedal unit is built to last, and took a fair kicking from us without a murmur of complaint. They’re also made to stay put, with a very handy retractable carpet grip that keeps the unit properly in place.
Beyond sturdy construction and real-world simulation, a huge drawcard with the G923 is Logitech’s new high definition ‘Trueforce’ force feedback system. We sat a handy nine-year-old who, unsurprisingly, has little driving experience beyond Mario Kart down and let him rip, and his first reaction was to freak out a little at how the wheel tugged at his hands. That he had his foot to the floor on gravel explains that part, but it is a great example of the added realism added by the Trueforce system. It interfaces with supported games – apparently polling some 4,000 times per second – to reproduce the physics that they’re pumping out, even down to all the fun of over- and understeer.
Add niceties like the ability to program launch control functionality (on PC), a handy 24-point selection knob and futureproofing in that it’s compatible with the upcoming PS5 (or Xbox Series X|S in the case of the Xbox version) and the Logitech G923 is one seriously brilliant wheel and pedals setup. As it’s Bathurst time once again, it could be the perfect excuse to really take your games machine out for a spin.
The Logitech G923 Racing Wheel and Pedals is available now for PS5/PS4/PC and Xbox Series X|S/Xbox One/PC.