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Product : Complete Racing System
Company : ACT Labs
Author : Troy 'curiophile' Price
Date : July 5th, 2002

Games

I used quite a few different games when testing, including NASCAR 2002, F1 2001, Sports Car GT, the included Rally game, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit 2 and NFS: Porsche Unleashed. I did have some problems with a couple games at first, but the latest game patches fixed all that. I never got a chance to check out F1 2002 by EA, but I was told that the Force RS has no problems with that game either.

The other games all played excellent. Certain games were different, but all had the same accuracy. The force feedback was different between games, but all were quite realistic. NASCAR 2002 did seem a bit stronger in force feedback than the others for some reason. I could actually feel the drift and body flex of the car in that game. The pedals were so accurate that you could easily control your drift to perfection with just the throttle. Brakes could be pumped and used to send the car a tad sideways when you wanted, and the clutch and shifter were deadly coming out of the turns.

The 7 gear plate for the shifter with F1 2001 was some serious business. It took a lot of practice, but the pattern could be used with no problems during super quick shifting. After a while of practice, I actually liked the shifter better than the paddle shifters.

The rally games were a blast, and are one of my favorite to play. You really are moving around quite a bit in rally. NFS was fun also, but I think that the realism of the shifter really wasn't needed in that game - it really just didn't come in handy.

Conclusion

Overall I was highly impressed with the entire racing system. Putting you in the driver's seat behind a computer monitor is just so much fun, especially with this setup. Current video cards and games bring excellent realism to the monitor, and using anything less than this ACT-Labs Racing System to race with wouldn't do the experience justice. My Logitech Wingman Force Feedback Pro has now been demoted to my second computer.

There are so many good things to say about each part. The shifter added to a very realistic driving experience. I felt like I was actually driving, and it sure made the games more enjoyable. The shifter can be hard to learn and use at first, but after you get used to it, it gives you more control of your game.

The Performance Pedals also deserve very high praise. After over a week of some serious NASCAR 2002, I never once had problems with the pedals slipping or moving. The accuracy of the break and throttle are amazing and highly realistic.

This brings us to the steering wheel, by far the best I've ever seen or used. The force feedback is programmable and just fantastic. You can feel every bump in the road, every jitter, and hit. The Kevlar belts have smoothed out since I first started using it, and the accuracy has become near perfect.

I now have two racing systems hooked up to each other over a network, and I want to add more. The addition of the ACT-Labs Racing System to my computer has turned it into a mini arcade. I was playing some Cruisin' the USA with two sit down steering wheels the other day at a bar, and it was lame compared to what I have at home now! The technology is really coming fast and cheap these days, and for a decent price, you can really have some serious fun with your computer.

Congratulations to ACT-Labs on producing the finest racing system I've ever seen - it certainly makes everything else seem like a toy.


Verdict
I give the ACT-Labs Force RS, Performance Pedals and USB Shifter a 5/5.
Thanks to Raymond Chow from ACT-Labs for giving me the opportunity to review the system.

Overall Score
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Pros
  • Programmable force feedback
  • Great force feedback realism
  • Shifter has fluid movement
  • Great looks / Leather-like wheel wrap
  • Kevlar belts in wheel
  • Cartridge system design for future technology upgrades
  • 11 buttons overall and F1-style paddle shifters on wheel
  • Performance Pedals have perfect feel
  • Excellent non-skid design on Performance Pedals
  • Compatible with PlayStation 1 & 2 also (Gran Turismo!)
  • Excellent quality and workmanship
  • Unified drivers
Cons
  • You will need three available USB ports to run all the equipment at once





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