IF you’ve ever looked into the cockpit of an aeroplane, you may have noticed there are pedals under the dashboard in a similar position to those in your car.
They might be in the same place, but they do different things – in a car they make it accelerate and brake (and let you change gears, if you’re old school cool like me and drive a manual transmission), while on an aeroplane they control the rudders – which is important for taxiing on runways, undertaking aerobatic manoeuvres, and engaging in dogfights in combat.
The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Rudder is a rudder system for Xbox and PC, primarily intended for use with flight simulator games (like Microsoft Flight Simulator, or combat flight games like IL-2 Sturmovik) so you can control the aircraft rudder just like pilots do in real life – with pedals, not by twisting the control column.
The pedals can be configured in one of two ways – a sort of “lie flat” setup similar to what modern jet airliners use, or a more conventional vertical arrangement as seen in smaller aircraft or cars (more on that in a minute). Changing the configuration takes a minute or so at most, using an included Allen key and swapping out a part on each pedal (everything is in the box).
Naturally, since I like old aeroplanes, I spent most of the testing time with the pedals in the vertical position.
The unit is well made (the base is metal) and not light, and also comes with adhesive rubber foot pads to go underneath and stop the rudders sliding around on the floor when in use. The pedals were well sized and responsive
On Xbox It’s designed to connect, via pass-through, to the VelocityOne Universal Flight Control System or the VelocityOne FlightStick, and once you’ve got it set up (which involved a firmware update), it works together very well to really add to the feeling you’re in an aeroplane cockpit (not to mention giving you more control options).
For PC, it’s a direct connection – just plug the pedals into your PC; you can use whatever yoke or joystick you like (although for the purposes of this review I was using the VelocityOne peripherals).
The major challenge for me is the amount of space the VelocityOne Rudder takes up under my desk. It’s not a small unit, and not only did it displace my cat (who was not pleased about the even temporary loss of one of his favourite Cat Places To Be), it was too big to leave under the desk when I wasn’t gaming – making using it a bit of a hassle, because I’d have to go and get it from where I was storing it, then put it under the desk, then plug it in.
It was a better situation in the lounge (where I could just put it on the floor in front of the couch) and shift it off to the side of the room when I was done.
In pretty much all other respects though, these have proven to be very good indeed – they are responsive, adjustable for civilian and combat situations by swapping out resistance springs, and certainly do enhance the flight sim experience by giving you better rudder control.
The big question though is: Do you actually need them?
The answer depends on how seriously you’re into your flight sims, which means for most people the answer is “No, you don’t need them” – especially since they’re AUD$480, which (on top of the AUD$550 for the Velocity One Universal Flight Control System or AUD$250 for the FlightStick) makes for an increasingly expensive way of operating a virtual aeroplane if you’re not part of the hardcore sim crowd.
And that, in a nutshell, sums up the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Rudder – it’s well-made and does what it’s supposed to, but it’s also not cheap and you probably don’t need it unless you really like flight sims.