I’d buy that for a dollar…
Sometimes, the difference between the thrill of the checkered flag and the
shame of watching someone else’s taillights whiz past as they grab all the glory
can be found in the controller you’re using. You wouldn’t try to win the Indy
500 with a keyboard mounted to the dash of your F-1 racer, so why settle for
substandard control of your favorite games? As games get more involved and more
realistic, it takes tighter control to earn that checkered flag. Keyboards and
mice may be fine for FPS games, or even RPG’s, but a hard-core racer demands
So you say, “I don’t know… peripherals are so expensive, and the cheap ones
are exactly that…CHEAP.” Oh p’shaw…the Nascar Charger 2 from Thrustmaster
will do ya just fine. At around 40 bucks (which, incidentally, is about the
cost of a new game), you can enhance the experience of any racer.
The NC2 is a solid feeling wheel. Out of the box it seems a little heavy,
and almost clunky. But I assure you, the V-shaped clamp really makes this wheel
a part of whatever surface you clamp it to. It’s even got a quick release tensioner
to give that added stability. After several rounds of 4X4 Evolution,
the NC2 never slipped, not even a little.
Added to the stability is Thrustmaster’s Bungee Technology. Inside of each
NC2, there are real bungee cords. Designed by and for NASA, the bungee
cord really helps hold things in place. The stable clamp and firm resistance
make for some really accurate cornering.
The wheel is molded hard plastic – nothing fancy, but the shape is comfortable.
The four buttons on the face are conveniently placed for easy access to your
e- brake, view changes or whatever else you need. Plus, the shift paddles are
HUGE, making shifting effortless, which is a good thing. Again, after countless
laps I never once had to fumble for a button or a shifter.
The package boasts: “Stable pedals for quick acceleration and braking.” Now,
I don’t know what size feet these guys have, but the pedals that come with the
NC2 are on a small, unstable base that slides across carpet like butter
off a hot pancake. Most of the time I found myself playing barefoot to hold
the pedals in place. This was pretty much the only drawback to the NC2.
Installation of the unit itself is a breeze, the software installs easily and
the wheel plugs into your PC’s game port. From there, you can access the wheel’s
own software through the control panel. The software provided doesn’t seem like
it calibrates thoroughly enough, but I never had any actual calibration problems
or control issues around calibration, so no harm done.
Overall, the Nascar Charger 2 is a great introductory wheel. It feels
solid and really brings racers to life. Considering the low price, I would recommend
it – unless you have big feet.