Ever since I was a human child, playing a racing game of any sort would see my dramatically tilting, angling, and swinging my controller around as I leaned into turns and weaved around obstacles and competitors. Now, even as a human spawn, I knew that my wild undulations and swaying had no actual effect…but it totally did, so sod off. There were racing wheels, sure, but they weren’t always that great. On occasion, a racing wheel would come out that did a fantastic job at translating my actions onto the screen as accurately as an actual controller. The release of the Subsonic Racin’ Pro PS3/PC steering wheel and chair combo…is not one of those occasions.
What is the purpose of the Subsonic Racin’ Pro? Let’s look at it in each of its component parts: the bucket seat, the steering wheel, and the pedals. The bucket seat is meant to provide comfort for the player and support for the wheel/pedal components. Bucket seats have long been the definition of form-fitting comfort when driving, while it serves the dual purpose of supporting the comfortable distance of the pedals and wheel from the player while keeping them stationary in relation to the seat, and therefore the player. The wheel and pedal components are meant to provide a more realistic driving experience by providing the player real-world tools (a steering wheel, a pedal for braking, and a pedal for acceleration) to interact with the virtual vehicle. In a racing vehicle, the wheel and pedals are incredibly responsive, providing a great deal of control to the driver.
The chair made my…posterior hurt, the steering wheel had absolutely no finesse, and the pedals…well, the pedals were actually the one functional part of the device as a whole.
As I sat in this chair, I first noticed that it was not designed for a person of my not astounding height (6’1″). My knees were far too close to the pedal, and I had a very cramped feeling. The second thing I noticed (second only because it wasn’t relevant until after the first issue) was that the seat designed for comfort…was making my gluteal muscles ache. The mixture of very little padding in the seat of the chair and the angle of my knees placing additional pressure and weight onto my hips negated the primary purpose of the bucket seat component of the Racin’ Pro.
My first driving attempt was with Blur, one of my absolute favorite arcade racers. The first thing I noticed was that the steering wheel refused to respond until I rotated it at least 45 degrees, at which point it would respond overzealously. There was no finesse, no fine control to the vehicle. Instead, I spent the entire racing bouncing between walls and opponents like some kind of demented ping-pong ball, resulting in last place finish after last place finish. The pedals, on the other hand, responded fairly well to my direction, though the accelerator required a somewhat uncomfortable angle in order to be fully depressed.
I was excited about this product when I first saw it. It had the potential of being a fantastically comfortable way to be more immersed in racing games. Now, I’m disappointed for what could have been. If the seat was better padded, perhaps with a thick memory foam bottom, and the steering wheel was…well, functional…this would have been a great purchase. As it is, $199 is asking far too much for what is essentially useless.
Folds down to compact size for storage
Decent pedal sensitivity
|Very inaccurate steering|
Very uncomfortable for my posterior
Very uncomfortable for taller individuals