My Xbox Force Feedback wheel is a big bulky old thing and lives in a cupboard meaning it doesn't get as much use as it deserves. The wife thinks it clutters up the room. So I was pretty excited when I saw this small wireless wheel come out.
When it arrives it feels high quality. It is made of glossy black finger print magnet plastic with matt plastic hand grips. The D pad is on the left side of the wheel and the A B X Y buttons on the other. The 2 triggers are on the back of the wheel. The Back, the Xbox button and Start button are on the centre dial. As many people have pointed out, no LB and RB. And no headphone socket so you can't speak to people on multi-player. The wheel looks good and the ends light up green when it is on. It is a little small in the hands and quite light but feels well made.
I bought the wheel on offer with Forza 4 and was very excited to try it. But nearly immediately I felt let down. Before racing I decided to put my custom decals on the car but couldn't as the selection of options on the painting mode require selection by the LB and RB. Which the wheel doesn't have. You have to turn off, use the Xbox controller to do the customisation and then restart with the wheel on to drive. This is a significant let down.
But you buy this for the racing. And here it feels disappointing. It's responsive enough and the triggers are well placed and well balanced. But waving the wheel around in the air quickly becomes tiring. After a few races you end up with your elbows on your knees. When you bump into people you get a rumble but of course there's no force feedback that you get on the bigger wheels. The wireless wheel feels detached from the game. With no feedback from the bends, no resistance into a corner it quickly feels considerably less responsive than the standard controller. And not even a shadow of the force feedback wheel. You end up weaving around more and it takes more time to swing the wheel than the control stick. So end up doing worse in the game.
To summarise I would say that the wireless wheel is the worst option when playing a simulation race game. It's fun for a bit, but the fun wanes quickly when you start to lose races and the excellent game begins to feel like an arcade game rather than a racing simulator. The standard Xbox controller has resistance in the sticks, a better sense of rumble and you can customise the car using it. The Force Feedback wheel is bulky but you get a real sense of being there. Direct response on bends and impacts and racing surfaces. The wireless wheel feels vague, is tiring to use and changes the feel of a simulation race game. Had I tried it in a shop first I definitely wouldn't have bought it. My Force Feedback wheel is back out of the cupboard and I'm back loving the game.