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Product: Force Feedback 2
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com/sidewinder
Estimated Street Price: $109.00
Review By: Julien JAY

Design

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Design, setup, force
3: GamePlay & Drivers

4: Conclusion

When you first look the Force Feedback 2, you'll probably find it as cumbersome as the previous one and you'd be right even if the new one is a bit smaller. However the heavy base was totally redesigned and now features a cool bio design all in roundness. The base is the first Microsoft hardware device to proudly show a silvery Microsoft logo that gives the unit a high tech touch. The plastic of the base isn't smooth but granular ensuring a good grip when you hold it. The bottom of the base is in full plastic and comes with large pads so the unit won't move when it shakes your hands. When the unit is plugged and connected to the computer a large green DEL is lighted up. If the device isn't connected to the power but only to the USB port, the green light blinks letting you know you have to plug it correctly.  The base of the SideWinder Force Feedback now features a transparent plastic bubble instead of sheath rubber so when you move the broomstick it moves silently and you’re sure that no dust enters inside the unit. Microsoft has also redesigned the broomstick: it still has a wide base allowing you to rest your hand while you're playing, but the buttons' positions changed - the main trigger is now silvery and larger than before like the hat-switch. Both of these buttons are in a too light plastic to my taste comparing to the one used by other buttons. But that's not all: there are four buttons on top of the joystick: two small round black ones as well as a larger one usually intended to launch rockets. Obviously the top of the joystick still features the fourth button that is the hat-switch that lets you easily change your point of view in games directly when playing! The silvery hat-switch button is smoother than the one of the old unit so it's more pleasant to use, and since it's larger and as it features a curved recess, it's more adapted to the thumb. Best of all the hat-switch button has now small points on it indicating direction so you don't need to look at it to know in which direction you push it while you're playing because you'll instantly feel it when you touch the marks. The broomstick can be rotated in 3D to ensure a perfect control of the direction commands acting like a swing-bar: this is the third moving axis of the joystick. The new Microsoft joystick features a new silvery throttle: if this new one is nice, I really regret that its magnitude is so few: indeed the angle of move isn’t enough large so it can be confusing in games that require intensive use of the throttle. The base itself features four large black buttons that can be fully customized using the appropriate drivers.

 


Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2 Main Buttons

   

Setup

To enjoy the full features of the SideWinder Force Feedback 2 joystick you have to install the SideWinder Game Controller drivers once you plugged the USB cable of the joystick to your computer. The setup is fast and you’re guided with a clear & user friendly wizard to properly setup the joystick. Once the SideWinder Game Controller software is installed you have to reboot the computer to start playing with your new ultimate shortcut to absolute victory.

Force Feedback Effects

Obviously the Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2 comes with more force feedback effects than the old Force Feedback Pro to make you vibrate with more than 100 different effects! With a new 16bits 25Mhz processor and 2MB of RAM the SideWinder Force Feedback 2 features faster force feedback effects but the best new feature is certainly the fact that force feedback effects can now be combined. Indeed with the previous one you can feel only one force feedback effect at a time: so if you’re shooting with a submachine gun while you’re craft is diving you’d only felt one effect. Now with the Force Feedback 2 you’ll feel both effects, great isn’t it? This new feature increases the realism levels of games. At this time more than 200 games support the Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2 and offer Force Feedback effects: note that games just need to use DirectX & DirectInput to support the joystick.

  

<-- Introduction

GamePlay & Drivers -->

 

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