After doing several laps in F1: 2011, it was pretty clear that whatever skills I thought I had as a driver were laughable in my inability to watch the road, turn, brake and accelerate when needed, not to mention working the buttons for KERS or DRS. It really gives you a feeling for the sensory overload and dexterity it takes to be a driver.
It also took about 20 minutes of gameplay to realize how much my shoulders hurt from holding the steering wheel in mid-air. Between learning new tracks, figuring out what buttons to push to optimize my on-track performance, and the physical workout I got in my shoulders, I had to take a break before full frustration set in.
Even with the lack of force feedback, I don’t think anyone can really complain that this wheel takes away from realistic gameplay. In fact, the price point makes it almost a no-brainer for racing sim enthusiasts. It’s very easy to set up and take with you if you want to be mobile. The Simraceway Game is very robust that you can get hours and hours of entertainment value from.
Everything wasn’t perfect for the wheel however. We had to take a moment to “map” the wheel and buttons when playing Need For Speed and F1: 2011. After some time, I still wasn’t completely satisfied with our Need for Speed mapping, but the game was at least playable. (SteelSeries even gives you some suggestions for Button and Control Mappings here and here). F1: 2011 was by far more enjoyable (albeit more complicated!) with the SteelSeries SRW-S1 wheel.
For those with Sony PlayStations or a Microsoft Xbox who were looking to use this as a controller, I’m afraid you are out of luck. SteelSeries has no plans to make the SRW-S1 available for consoles at this time.
SteelSeries did tell us though that there are plans for a mounting system in the near future which is welcome news. The SRW-S1 already has mounding holes on the back so a clever enthusiast might be able to build a steering column system.
For a limited time, the good folks at Simraceway are including $10 of in-game currency. Before you laugh, that $10 is a nice bit of cash when you consider that the upgrade from our “Stock” Mitsubishi Evo X is a BMW M-1 for $0.47 USD or the Renault Megane Trophy for $1.80 USD that we purchased. With the included currency, you can actually upgrade to an F1-type (Simraceway Formula 3) open wheel automobile and really utilize all the buttons of the SRW-S1 right away. The currency can also be used for entering online racing events. The race events that we saw over the holidays looked like they were free to enter with real life prizes – SRW-S1 wheels, video cards, peripherals, and cash.
The SteelSeries Simraceway SRW-S1 Gaming Wheel is available now for $139.32 shipped and comes with SteelSeries’ standard 1-year warranty in the US or Taiwan, or 2 years in the EU.
Legit Bottom Line: SteelSeries and Simraceway have delivered a high-quality controller that anyone who appreciates racing sims will love. Not only is the Simraceway controller packaged with a robust on-line game, but the SRW-S1’s ability to work with popular games such as F1: 2011 and the Need for Speed series makes this an excellent value.