Remember those kids at school who always had all the rad things? They were the first to get Sonic the Hedgehog and the first to gleefully announce that for their birthday that they had received an actual steering wheel and pedal set for their Playstation. I was still blowing into my gaming cartridges and hoping Circus Charlie wouldn’t freeze so when the Thrustmaster Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition arrived I was pretty excited. So excited that I almost rang up some of those old school mates in the hope that my feelings of past envy could now be transferred. I didn’t… but I should have.
It’s super easy to set up. A few minutes at most. Designed for XBox but completely compatible with PC (thank God because I don’t have an Xbox). It looks exactly like the Ferrari 458 steering wheel and has all the fancy buttons which I’m presuming must be in a 458. I’ve never actually been in a Ferrari 458 so I’m really presuming here, but I figure it has the famous Ferrari logo bang on the wheel – so close enough right?
The TON of buttons on that wheel just add to the immersive experience. It’s big. It takes up all the space in front of your desk or screen and that’s actually rather awesome. The steering wheel cables run across your desk and then down to the peddles and then to the power outlet and PC or XBox. Make no mistake, it is a glorious mess.
Anyone who tells you that playing racing games on a keyboard is fine, is a liar. It’s definitely not. In fact it is so bad my brother and I hardly buy racing games if it means we have to play them on a PC – no matter how awesome the game is. It just doesn’t work. But a racing wheel…. it brings all the childhood nostalgia rushing back.
So the 458 Italia Edition Thrustmaster: For starters, it really is easy to set up. Tighten the clamps, screw on the wheel, plug in the peddles, connect to the Xbox or PC (with a USB) and then plug into a power point. Done. Open your game of choice and hold in the big shiny X button to power on the wheel and then use as a normal remote until you find yourself on the starting line. Every button you find on your standard Xbox remote you will find on the Thrustmaster 458 Edition. If you’re using it on PC you will have to download the drivers though. Just FYI.
I remember way back when, as a kid, that the peddles on these things would slide around and you’d spend a lot of time pulling them back to you as cars flew past so you could try accelerate again. Didn’t have this problem with the Thrustmaster. The clamps also hold the wheel firmly. The feedback from the Thrustmaster is incredible. At times it starts feeling like you really are driving a car (albeit a super sensitive one though!).
Back in the wheel world – see what I did there – after a bit of reflection I’ve got to be honest: As rad as this Thrustmaster is, and the glorious Italian design touches appeal to the fashion conscious in me, I’m not sure I’d run out and buy one. Does the Thrustmaster make racing games 100 times more enjoyable? Absolutely. But to really enjoy racing games, you need to be playing with friends and I can’t help but think it might be a bit weird to have a full Thrustmaster set up for my self and tossing my boyfriend a standard remote…. actually I could happily do that to my boyfriend but might feel a bit bad if my bestie was in player 2’s position.
These buggers are rather steep price wise, especially if you want that pretty stallion on yours. Buying two so your mate and you can have a fun Saturday night is probably not an option. Also, do you play enough racing games to truly justify it?
I once reviewed a Jaguar on the blog and mentioned that it was the car I wanted but not the car I could buy. I feel like the Thrustmaster is the Jaguar of gaming peripherals. You’ll love it but you probably won’t buy it… however, if you do, you should totally invite me around on weekends.
Disclaimer: We were given a Thrustmaster steering wheel to review – the unit when back to the brand once we were done.
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