There's no other way to play a top racing game with any vague sense of realism than with a wheel bolted securely to your desk and a set of pedals sat on the mess of wires under your feet.
The difference in satisfaction and visual realism is immediate; so much so that you'll never want to race without a wheel again. But how much will you pay for the privilege?
That's a question that Logitech is asking again with its new top-of-the-line racing wheel, the G27.
Sure, it's tricky to get the hang of hurtling around in-game with a steering wheel when you're used to the mouse/keyboard combo or the analogue sticks of your favourite gamepad, but when you manage to drift around a corner with just the right amount of throttle and opposite lock to make you look like a Finn you'll be grinning like a loon. Which will make you look even more like a Finnish rally driver…
DiRT 2 is the perfect example – I can't imagine playing the game on a gamepad having reviewed it using a wheel. But what do you really need in a decent racing controller?
Force feedback is the most essential thing and here Logitech and the G27 rule. With good force feedback you can actually feel the way the car is handling, enabling you to react much faster than if you had to rely on visual cues alone.
Need for speed
But do you need a proper six-speed gear shift to get the most out of your wheel? If you want the ultimate in race-driving realism then the answer is probably yes, but then you also need a racing seat and one of those frames you can build a PC and screen into to make you feel like you're in a proper simulator.
And if you want all that then it's going to cost you a couple of grand anyway, so you might as well get a £330 steering wheel…
This is definitely a wheel for the enthusiast; the casual racer isn't going to get enough out of this leather, plastic and metal monster to justify the outlay.
The problem here, though, is that the previous Logitech beastie, the G25, is available for about £160 if you shop around – half the price of this latest wheel.
So what do you miss out on with the older model? Strangely, all you seem to lose are six programmable buttons. That said, the G25 has a switch to change the gated gear shift to a simple sequential shift, which the G27 oddly lacks.
I'd hoped that the G27's finish would be better and the clamps more secure, but it's still disturbingly easy to wrench either the shift or the wheel from the desk on a tight turn, and the gear stick is as lightweight as ever.
The G25, then, is still a fantastic racing wheel and at £160 it's a bargain for such a serious simulator setup. By comparison, the G27 brings little to the table for its somewhat crazy price tag.
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