A Thrustmaster PC Racing Wheel is one of the shining lights when it comes to producing steering wheels for PC gaming. Even though many other companies have fallen by the way side, the company are still making wheels to please the hard-core sim racing community. Now, there’s a new controller for racing fans to get their hands on with the Thrustmaster RGT Force Feedback Steering Wheel which looks to give PC fans a real taste of what it’s like to drive on the track.
The PC Racing Wheel RGT Force Feedback’s look doesn’t stray too far for the traditional look and this goes for all features of the wheel. On the actual steering wheel itself, there are all the features that you would expect such as a D-Pad to flick between in-game menus and the T logo placed in the center of the wheel. It also has two forms of gear shifts with the F1 style paddle shifts situated just behind the main body with a more classic stick located just to the right of the body. No matter which style someone prefers, the RGT comes in an all black finish which helps re-create the feel and look of a proper steering even if it predominantly made from plastic.
As for the pedals, it comes with the classic two-control approach with one designed for accelerating and the other for braking. There is a bit of a resistance as the foot presses down on the brake but it isn’t enough to hinder the actual response within the game. One problem that can get extremely frustrating though is that the pedals will move constantly due to their lightness meaning that it’s best to place it on a high-friction surface like carpet.
With the RGT, one of its most novel features is the 4 different paddles that sit behind the wheel itself. As many would expect, the top two panels are used to change gears but the two bottom paddles are analogue controls which can be seen as alternatives to the accelerate and brake pedals. Normally, most of these controls take an all or nothing approach to accelerating, but to Thrustmaster’s credit, they have refined so that the harder a paddle is pressed, the more throttle that is applied. This is a nice touch and can be a good way to avoid having to constantly re-position the pedals as they move.
To clamp down on a surface, the RGT uses a single screw mechanism to lock itself onto a surface. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always clamp down that well and whilst the bolt can be tightened to within an inch of breaking point, the controller will still move from time to time. This can be frustrating especially if it occurs mid-race and ruin any initial hard-work that had taken place early in a race. Meanwhile, the pedals connect to the wheel via a single wire which is then split into two components. One part links directly to the base of the wheel whilst the other links directly to the shifting mechanism. On top of that, there are 3 wires needed to connect the wheel into the mains and to a PC via a USB connector. Whilst all of these wires are necessary to operate the wheel, it does lead to a messy and confusing set-up which could be eliminated by eliminating a wire or two.
Performance of the PC Racing Wheel
To get the best feel for the overall performance of the RGT, we tested the wheel on several different games ranging from full simulations such as RFactor and GTR 2 to more arcade titles such as Need For Speed. One thing that stood out on all titles was that the pedals had to be manually configured to work fully on all systems which did take some time. Once everything was working, the wheel generally performed well and had good levels on feedback on all games. It felt particularly pleasant on a couple of rally stages on RFactor where all the bumps and holes in the gravel stages could be felt at all times.
There was also good response to movement and acceleration on the full sims such as RFactor and GTR and helped create an immersive experience when in-game. Whilst there weren’t any major issues with the more arcade titles, there seemed to be some calibration issues on Need For Speed which meant that the menu would keep moving slowly which can get a bit tedious after a while and limit the amount of fun someone can have on the game.
Closing Thoughts on PC Racing Wheel Thrustmaster RGT Force Feedback
As the RGT is priced at just over $100, users will certainly get a lot for their money’s worth with good feedback and response in all the games that we tested it on. It’s also refreshing to see Thrustmaster refine some of the characteristics that have hindered past versions especially with the improvements made to the analogue throttle controls.
However, it’s not all fun and games though as the movement of the pedals and the steering wheel can get frustrating and ruin the overall experience from time to time. It would also be nice to see some of the connections tidied up to save space and time when setting everything up. Despite these little niggles, the Thrustmaster RGT Force Feedback PC Racing Wheel is still a worthy purchase for any keen gamer.