Letís talk about the strengths of Gran Turismo 4 first. We know that Gran Turismo has proven itself to be a reliable model for performance driving. GT3 was a training tool used by professional drivers. In GT4, the force feedback is robust and solid, where itís possible to feel the differences between tarmac, dirt, and even the rough parts of the Nurburgring track.
In Enthusia, I donít feel like there is quite as much of a connection between road and the driver. Going over the bumpy parts of Nurburgring doesnít translate well into the force feedback. Despite having access to the 900 degree Logitech Driving Force Pro, Enthusiaís force feedback is probably still shy of GT3ís quality. Nevertheless, it is a reasonable first attempt by Konami. While the feedback in Enthusia is less than perfect, it does provide valuable information and helps you do better in the game. In the pre-GT3 era, force feedback steering wheels were largely more of a hindrance than a help.
The Driving Force Pro
A few years ago, we took a look at all of the major steering wheels including the MOMO Force and ACT Labs Force RS. At that time, we gave the MOMO Force our editorís pick. In 2005, thereís almost no competition among force feedback steering wheels, but fortunately, Logitech has continued to push the technology. Anyone who is a racing game fan should pick up the Logitech Driving Force Pro.
Our old reference standard was the original red MOMO Force (not the black MOMO Racing Wheel). Although a pricey $199, the MOMO Force had an incredible metal steering wheel with a superb leather grip, excellent paddles, and exceptional multi-axis pedals that could only be beaten by specialized pedals costing as much as $300. The MOMO Forcesís wheel motion was much smoother than its other geared brethren approaching the quality of belt-driven hardware and there wasnít any of the ratcheting and cog-wheeling behavior.
The new Driving Force Pro, priced at a more affordable $150, is a worthy successor to legendary MOMO Force. Although the leather and aluminum steering wheel has been replaced by a rubber grip, the Driving Force Pro continues to use metal components internally and has a smoothness that is almost on par with the now-extinct MOMO Force. Pedals are notably improved from the previous generation GT Force / Formula Force GP as there is stronger resistance to the brake pedal and surprisingly effective carpet spikes that prevent slipping.
Of course, the greatest innovation of the Driving Force Pro is its 900 degree motion. In games like GT4 or Enthusia, the additional motion makes for a much greater experience. The difference isnít so much the ability to turn all 900 degrees (most of the time youíre staying within the 180 degree limit), but the finer control offered.
For a game like Enthusia where superior throttle, braking, and steering control is necessary, the Driving Force Pro is a must.