Third-party accessory maker Thrustmaster is known for its many racing wheel options, from budget picks to full-fledged racing rigs that will fill your gaming room like an F1 cockpit. While we’ve always liked the idea of a proper wheel setup, it’s not always practical for many players, requiring a lot of time, space, and money to get it working.
So when we saw the Thrustmaster Forza Horizon 5 ESWAP XR PRO controller, you could say we were very, very interested in the direction of the company with this. Essentially, it’s another gamepad to rival other ‘pro’ controllers, like the official Xbox Elite controller, but it packs a rather unique feature: a ‘racing wheel mod’.
This mod essentially replaces the d-pad or an analog stick with a small wheel, a directional input method that looks more like a steering wheel than a typical gamepad stick. But it works ? And where does it fit in relation to a normal controller or steering wheel? Let’s talk.
On this page:
- once again with emotion
- Is it a stick? Is it a wheel?
- Games, it’s all about games
- Is it worth a purchase?
once again with emotion
First, we want to talk about the pad in general and how it “feels” in the hands. You can immediately tell this is a high-end affair, with its magnetic side panels, array of rear buttons, and sturdy metal body. Yes, it’s wired (sorry, folks), but it’s nice to hold and we could see ourselves using it like a normal Xbox controller in terms of quality, even without the racing wheel module.
However, right out of the box, there is an issue with the wiring of the XR PRO. Basically, the supplied cable is simply too short if you’re gaming more than a few feet from your TV (say, from a living room couch), that’s something worth noting. The control do just use a standard micro USB cable, so it’s fairly easy to swap out, but the supplied cable has a connection end cap that locks it into the pad, so we’d prefer the supplied one to be a bit longer. That’s okay, but when your controller is around $200, no in reality I want to add extras.
Is it a stick? Is it a wheel?
Now let’s move on to the centerpiece of this pad: the racing wheel module. As we mentioned, this thing can easily replace a stick or the d-pad (the entire controller is modular except for the face buttons), and we chose to place it where the left stick would normally sit. ; it seemed natural to place it there. and replace a stick or the d-pad.
Despite that odd initial appearance, the module actually seems quite natural to use. It doesn’t fully rotate (it matches the wheel rotation angles of the Forza games), but it does move like a small wheel and feels fully usable with just your left thumb, similar to a normal analog stick. So far, so good.
Games, it’s all about games
After setting up the controller for racing, we headed over to different types of games to see how it performs on the track. For the purpose of this review, we tested forza horizon 5, Forza Motorsport 7, project cars 3 there CMR 10.
Starting with Horizon 5, the controller and its wheel module feel very well tuned for this title, which makes sense given that the pad is FH5 themed. We’ve kept the default settings largely for the game and the pad itself, and you can definitely feel an extra layer of precision when you’re on the road using the racing module. Nothing major, but a nice alternate option that also feels a bit more immersive.
That said, it looks like this accessory is better suited to more sim-ish track racers, so we’re moving on to WRC 10 and Project CARS 3 next.
This is where the controller felt most comfortable. Both drivers have more “responsive” handling and the more precise steering wheel module seemed really useful, especially in WRC, which is notoriously tricky on a standard gamepad. The module allows you to make smaller and more precise steering adjustments than a normal analog stick and we really felt that in WRC 10. It does not replace the feel a steering wheel; Plus, it sits right in the middle of what a normal stick offers versus a full racing wheel setup. The experience was very similar in Project CARS 3, which we believe also benefited from the extra steering precision offered by the XR PRO module.
Image: The wheel module feels at home in WRC 10
Unfortunately, the mod didn’t feel right out of the box in Forza Motorsport 7. Something about Turn 10’s heavier handling characteristics just didn’t quite match the mod in its default configuration, and we preferred how it felt over a regular analogue. stick.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that some controller settings can be changed through the team’s ‘ThrustmapperX’ software, meaning you can tweak things to try and get the right feel for each specific racing game.
Is it worth a purchase?
Honestly, that’s a tough question to answer after testing the controller so far. If you’re looking for a more precise running option and don’t mind the wired nature of the pad, this certainly seems to work well on most runners, especially considering how incredibly easy it is to magnetically switch to a normal stick anyway if things don’t work 100% with the wheel module.
Image: The Pad using a standard Xbox controller setup
However, the Thrustmaster Forza Horizon 5 ESWAP XR PRO is perhaps best considered a professional wired controller with the option use a new race-focused steering stick. It’s a competent controller in its own right (lack of wireless support aside), and that would certainly help us justify its $200 price tag. As a pure racing alternative to a regular wireless Xbox pad, though? We don’t see ourselves using it regularly, even if the wheel module is a good compromise between a stick and a wheel.
Thrustmaster Forza Horizon 5 ESWAP XR PRO is a solid pro controller option that feels great in the hands no matter what type of game you’re using it with. The pad racing wheel module no way It replicates the feel of a proper wheel, but offers added precision over using a typical analog stick. If you like the idea of a new racing game controller without the need for a full wheel kit, it’s worth a try if you play a lot of racers, but otherwise we’ll probably stick with another one pro wireless pad like Xbox Elite controller.
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Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming world you are looking for.
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