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Thrustmaster eSwap Pro XR Forza Edition review – Time to swap your racing wheel?

It takes some getting used to, but with some experimentation and a bit of practice, the eSwap Pro XR really starts to grow on you

The Thrustmaster eSwap Pro XR Forza Edition features a unique racing wheel module for increased control on those drifts and turns.

What we love

  • Excellent customisation options
  • Really easy to swap parts and experiment
  • Racing wheel module gives you greater control in driving games
  • Has the functionality of a Pro Controller
  • Superb optimisation settings for serious players

What we don’t

  • The gamepad isn’t wireless
  • The Racing Wheel module takes some getting used to
  • No textured grips
  • Pretty expensive

Unlike the high-speed action found within Forza Horizon 5, my appreciation for the Thrustmaster eSwap Pro XR controller was much slower to materialise. The eSwap Pro XR’s two main selling points are the ability to swap out its various modules for the perfect set-up, and the racing wheel module which replicates the steering wheel – albeit on a much smaller scale. It takes some getting used to, but with some experimentation and a bit of practice, the eSwap Pro XR really starts to grow on you.

As you can see from the image above, the eSwap Pro comes with two analogue sticks, a D-Pad and a miniature racing wheel. 

These modules can be quickly and easily swapped out depending on what you’re playing and whatever feels the most comfortable.

You can opt for the classic two analogue sticks and a D-Pad layout for regular games, all the while changing the position of the D-Pad to give it more prominence.

If you scrap the D-Pad altogether, then the four rear buttons automatically serve as the directional buttons for in-game shortcuts. It’s all really straightforward and uncomplicated.

Without the racing wheel module, the eSwap feels like a bonafide Pro Controller, complete with trigger locks and mechanical buttons for increased responsiveness in online shooters.

The Thrustmaster eSwap Pro XR Forza Edition features a unique racing wheel module for increased control on those drifts and turns.

It also looks the part, featuring a pleasing black and white colour scheme, complete with pink racing stripes and the Forza Horizon 5 logo.

While they’re visually similar to the grips found on the Xbox Pro Controllers, the black grips arguably look a little out of place on the eSwap XR Pro, especially as they’re not textured. I would have preferred the stripes to wrap around the controller instead.

Some people might also be disappointed to find out that the eSwap Pro is a wired controller, so you don’t get the same level of freedom as you would from a wireless pad.

On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about running out of battery, and the supplied cable is certainly long enough that you should be able to comfortably play on the sofa.

Of course, the biggest selling point – and certainly the controller’s most unique selling point – is the addition of a racing wheel module which aims to better replicate the driving experience.

Boasting a 95° rotation angle and a non-slip surface, it allows you to master your trajectories and drifts with even more control.

Likewise, whether you’re navigating sharp turns or manoeuvring across Forza Horizon 5’s varied terrains, the module’s re-centering system helps you stay in command throughout your races… but only after you get used to it.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the first few races wiggling it around like a traditional analogue stick. Once you slow down and start to treat it like a steering wheel, you’ll find you have much more control over the car.

The result is a smoother racing experience with a greater sense of immersion, even if it’s not quite on par with a proper race wheel.

Arguably this is the biggest problem facing the Thrustmaster eSwap Pro XR Forza Edition.

Despite its versatility, it’s not quite on par with a racing wheel, and it’s just a rung or two below a Pro Controller.

This makes it a much tougher sell, especially when you consider the £169.99 price tag.

Still, the. versatile Hot-Swap technology and customisable features ensure that the controller adapts to your needs, putting you in command of your gameplay.

With its excellent build quality, mechanical buttons, and vibrant design, the officially-licensed Xbox gamepad is a solid choice for racing fans and serious gamers.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

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