The Driving Force shifter from Logitech is an addon that is usually paired with the Logitech G29/G920 steering wheel and pedal setup, although it can be used with other setups as well. But is a shifter really necessary for a sim racing rig?
The Logitech Driving Force shifter is a nice addon for the G29/G920 setup, but it is definitely not essential. If you prefer to race using a manual transmission, then it works great as a shifter, but if you find yourself using automatic or the paddle shifters, it might not be worth buying.
I personally bought the Driving Force shifter with my G29 pedals and wheel for the PS4. I drive a manual in real life, and so thought it would be a nice addon to play my favorite racing games with. In this review, I’ll go over why it was worth the money for me, and why it might not be for you.
Overview Of The Driving Force Shifter
The Logitech Driving Force shifter is an addon that is usually meant to go along with the G29/G920 set of pedals and steering wheel from Logitech, and it’s very affordable. It is a manual shifter, with 6 forward gears and 1 reverse gear. It is designed to give sim racers the ability to play their favorite racing games with a manual transmission, without needing to use buttons or paddles.
Small But Sturdy
It is relatively small and is designed to fit most sim racing stands. It is made out of plastic but has a leather style cover over the mechanical internals, and a plastic/leather feel on the gear knob itself.The internal components are made of metal, and it is designed to be a robust, cheap and long-lasting gear shifter for sim racing.
Good Things About The Driving Force Shifter
Ideal For Those On A Budget
The shifter is obviously very affordable when compared to others on the market. Other similar options from the likes of Thrustmaster come in at high price points. These do present their own advantages, but I believe that, for beginners especially, you do not need to spend that much money on a gear shifter. But for its low price, the Logitech does the job very well.
I bought the shifter because I have always dreamed of being able to get a full car setup in my living room to play all my favorite games as if I am really driving the cars. Because I am used to driving a manual, I felt like I absolutely needed a gear shifter. The Driving Force shifter seemed like the logical option, and it has lived up to expectations.
Looks And Feels Great
It looks and feels great and fits in well with the G29 pedals and wheel. It connects up to the wheel very easily, just needing the one (supplied) cable to do so. This helps to keep the number of cables down and makes my sim racing setup clean. It feels realistic to use, and the materials used ensure it doesn’t feel overly cheap, but instead it complements the feel of the wheel and pedals.
I use a fairly cheap sim racing stand that I found online, and it came with a detachable arm that fits external shifters. It has some screw holes in it that line up with the ones on the bottom of the shifter itself, and this helps to keep it firmly in place. Although the shifter has a screw-in clamp on it, I didn’t find this to be secure enough and so I definitely recommend getting yourself a compatible stand.
Functions As It Should
But aside from the aesthetics and the setup, the Driving Force shifter functions very well too. It has an H-pattern, with 6 forward gears and a push down reverse. This takes some getting used to, but in racing games you are rarely using the reverse gear anyway. The shifts feel quite short, which is ideal for fast-paced racing, and allows for quick and smooth transitions between gears.
The shifter snaps quite nicely between the gears and into neutral, and although it took a bit of practice at first to get the feel for it, I never find myself in the wrong gear through it slipping or through my own mistakes. Obviously in order to get the full effect of the manual transmission you will need a clutch pedal, and I found it to provide a reasonably realistic shifting experience overall.
Downsides Of The Driving Force Shifter
You Need A Good Stand
I have already referred to one of the main downsides of the Driving Force shifter, and that is its stability. Changing gears in a race requires quite fast and sharp movements of the shifter, and this naturally means you are going to be putting a decent amount of force into the shifter itself. So, you need one that doesn’t move or wobble when you want to change gear.
With my current setup, with the stand which you can see in the picture above, the shifter is screwed in via the base. It is also attached to the arm of the stand via the built-in clamps, but these are definitely not enough to give it a secure feel. I found myself shifting gears and moving the shifter around quite a lot, which needed constant adjustment.
I didn’t realize it had screw holes in the bottom and using these fixed this issue completely. However, your only option if you don’t have a stand, for example if you plan to clamp it to a table in front of you, is to use the two clamps on the front of the shifter and the screw clamp underneath. I think that over time this would prove to not be enough and require constant, annoying adjustment.
Thus, I definitely recommend getting a stand for this shifter, but a stand for your pedals and wheel is almost essential anyway. The only other real downside to the shifter is that it is not as useful as I had thought it might be. I play a mix of arcade, simcade and racing simulators, and I have found that for the ones I spend most of my time on, I rarely need to use the shifter at all.
Not Always The Best Option
For example, in games like Gran Turismo Sport and Project Cars 2, or indeed more simulator-type racers like iRacing, the high-speed racing involved requires rapid gear changes fairly constantly, and the shifter paddles on the wheel provide much quicker shifts than shifting manually. This is often the case in real racing too, and it is why so many motorsports opt for cars with paddle shifters.
Thus, I have found the gear shifter only to be useful on some specific occasions, or when I am playing a more arcade-style racer. The shifter proved to be more enjoyable to use in open world style games, where the focus was more on the driving around rather than the racing. This was just my personal preference, but I think it is a great addon for those that prefer arcade racers.
Only 6 Gears
The final reason I found this to be less usable for the more simcade to simulator racers is the fact it only offers 6 forward gears. If you are racing a high-performance car you will often find them to have 7 gears, and so you can’t get there with the shifter alone and would need to use the paddles for the final transition. This could be an important thing to consider before you buy it.
Overall, I think the Logitech Driving Force shifter is a nice addon for the G29/G920, but it is not a necessity. If you really want to play racing games using a full manual transmission then it is a good purchase, but even if you are just looking to enjoy the novelty of it and are not too concerned with its overall practicality, it’s still worth the relatively small investment for the fun factor.