Release Date: 04/22/2016
If you’re going to have a racing wheel, especially one as expensive as the T300 RS-GT Edition, then you need a shifter add-on. For people who really don’t care about shifting, it’s fine, but enthusiasts are really missing out on half of the experience. Shifting adds a whole new layer of challenge and control to racing games like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
The shifter is much bigger than I thought, and heavier, being made of 90% metal and using something called the H.E.A.R.T. system so it feels and acts like a real car shifter. The box comes with a DIN to DIN and DIN to USB cable. This is actually really important as PC requires DIN to USB as most games won’t recognize the shifter plugged into the back of the wheel. That’s mainly reserved for consoles. You also get an optional sequential plate for those who want to shift but do not use the H pattern. You can also change the plate by rotating it 180 degrees and even tighter the stick itself to make it looser or tight based on your preference. There’s so much more to this shifter than I anticipated and it impressed me every step of the way.
I opted to make the shifter as tight as it could go as it felt more like a newer car and gave me better feedback as to where I was at. After installing the drivers and making sure everything worked I booted up Forza Motorsport 7 and the shifter was recognized right away. Even without using the clutch, the shifter added a new dimension to my racing that I have never experienced before. It took a while to get the timing down, but I noticed a new depth of difficulty to these games that weren’t present before and that’s learning the shift timing of your vehicles and where to shift correctly on the track. This may scare some people away, but it actually improved my lap times and my first-place wins went way up because the shifter forced me to learn the track rather than just memorize where all the turns were.
Having it clamped to my desk next to my wheel is sure made this already bulky setup pretty monstrous, but it feels so good to play and I can’t go back to racing with a controller on simulators anymore. I spent hours racing and it sucked me into the game, even more, when I would get bored after a half dozen races or so. This is the way these games are meant to be played, and thankfully this shifter is compatible with any wheel because it’s USB and connects separately from the wheel. The DIN to DIN connections makes it compatible with other wheels that had add-on DIN ports so it’s widely universal.
My only gripe is that adjusting the tension on the stick isn’t easy and I nearly stripped the screw doing it. The manual says you can do two full turns but in reality, it was half a turn from completely loose to tight. The screw is pretty deep and at an angle, so it’s very hard to get to, and damaging the screw the way I did means after so long it won’t be adjustable anymore, so make sure you get it to a setting you like and leave it.
Overall, the TH8A shifter add-on is a must-have, and while it costs more than most cheaper wheels alone, it adds a layer of experience and enjoyment that you can’t get with just the wheel itself. If you ever wanted to dive into a more enthusiast experience and you have either a cheap or expensive wheel consider this add-on and you won’t regret it.