HORI Farming Vehicle Control System review: It's a mouthful

The Farming Vehicle Control System by HORI is tailor-made for Farming Simulator enthusiasts, but is it worth the price tag?

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Up until recently, I had never heard of HORI. The California-based company has been in business for over 50 years and is one of the first gaming peripheral makers in the world, but it wasn't until I was searching for devices to help make my Farming Simulator experience better that I came across them. The Farming Vehicle Control System - yes, it's a mouthful - is a complete set of devices that aim to deliver all the functionality you need to never touch a mouse and keyboard again. Featuring a steering wheel, set of three pedals, and a control panel with joystick and throttle, the Farming Vehicle Control System is one of few peripherals available to sim farmers. Let's see how it holds up.

A full-featured set of peripherals

HORI Farming Vehicle Control System

Source: HORI

The main reason I was attracted to the Farming Vehicle Control System is that it includes all the devices one would ever need to have a more immersive farm sim experience. The wheel itself features two joysticks to allow you to control your farmer while on foot. The control panel has so many buttons and features that you'll likely never run out of options. The included set of pedals features an accelerator, brake, and clutch and connects directly to the wheel so that you only need two available USB ports to run the entire setup. The wheel is angled at 40 degrees and capable of a full 900 degree rotation. It does not include force feedback, but that's not a real concern since that implementation in the Farming Simulator series is quite poor. I should note here that HORI worked together with Giants on this design, so everything works extremely well with the Farming Simulator series. There's probably not a ton of use for this system with anything else, though.

While the wheel doesn't have force feedback, it is spring operated and will return to its center position with significant force. This makes controlling farm vehicles with it a real pleasure, especially when using the included wheel spinner knob. A feature that more wheels should make use of is the included turn-signal lever that features a multitude of buttons usable for lights, wipers, and more. Two joysticks on the wheel mean that you can control the camera and any on-foot movement quite well, almost entirely negating the need to use a mouse to control the camera. I'll elaborate in the next section why it's only partially effective, however. The 40-degree angle of the wheel means that it feels like you're actually controlling the various farming vehicles in the same manner that the wheels are set up in most tractors and harvesters. This is a noticeable upgrade in realism over using even the best wheel made for racing simulators.

The pedals themselves are basic, though they do feature Hall effect sensors and felt quite responsive during my many hours of farming. The control panel unit features a multi-axis joystick with twist support and over 10 buttons within reach of your thumb. This control panel is what sets the Farming Vehicle Control System apart from its competition. Not only does it include many buttons across two modes, it also has a throttle that can be used to finely control movement of vehicles. A wheel to manage your cruise control is another welcome feature.

Overall, this set of three devices works very well in unison and greatly improves your immersion while pretending to be a farmer on your computer. It makes controlling vehicles hugely better than trying to use a mouse and keyboard, is significantly more enjoyable than using a game controller, and includes features that a regular wheel just doesn't offer.

Quality doesn't quite line up with cost

HORI Farming Vehicle Control System

Source: HORI

As much as I enjoy the added immersion that the Farming Vehicle Control System brings, it's not all perfect. All components are made up of hard plastic and parts of them feel downright flimsy. The wheel itself is covered in a textured rubber for better grip, and while this doesn't feel too bad and may even be more realistic than a leather cover, it does contribute to an overall cheaper feeling. The turn-signal lever is quite loose, and it's not always clear if a button was activated or not. The pedals are sturdy despite their plastic implementation, but the base is so light that it slides across the floor easily. Adding a few rubber feet helps alleviate that slightly, but the ones it ships with are pretty useless.

The build quality of the control panel feels better than that of the wheel or pedals, but it is also oversized for what it does. There is a lot of extra room on the device, with the joystick being far bigger than it needs to be, even for someone with large hands, resulting in the control panel taking up a lot of space on the desk, with much of it being wasted. This is particularly problematic for gamers with limited space, as the system requires a considerable amount of room to operate comfortably. Many components feel plastic-like and somewhat flimsy, which detracts from the overall user experience. For a device with a premium price tag, the lack of robust construction is a significant letdown. Additionally, the colorful buttons, while functional, have a somewhat childish appearance. This design choice can detract from the realism that the system aims to provide, making it feel more like a toy than a serious gaming peripheral.

I purchased the HORI Farming Vehicle Control System with the intent of not having to touch my mouse and keyboard during play sessions in Farming Simulator 22 ever again. Unfortunately, there are two major reasons that prevent me from accomplishing this goal. The first could possibly be blamed on Giants itself, but frequently the control help panel in the game will show more commands for the mouse or keyboard than for the Farming Vehicle Control System. Even though buttons are bound and configured, they are not shown at all times, leading me to revert to the keyboard at times for assistance. It also doesn't help that the device itself has such a long name and button numbering between the wheel and control panel overlap. This makes it difficult to differentiate between the two in the sim's control configuration options. 

Controls screen in FS22

Despite my best efforts, the use of my mouse is still required, especially when moving a vehicle with the wheel and needing to rotate the camera. This is frequently required during backing up of trailers and operating front loaders or telehandlers. The wheel's joystick that is bound to the camera control works fine when the wheel is not being turned, but as soon as you rotate the wheel more than 45 degrees, it becomes cumbersome and even impossible to manage the camera using that joystick. Unfortunately, that means that my mouse remains an integral part of the Farming Simulator control setup.

This will change how you farm

HORI Farming Vehicle Control System

Source: HORI

The HORI Farming Vehicle Control System offers an intriguing solution for those looking to enhance their farming simulation experience. With a comprehensive setup that includes a steering wheel, joystick, and pedals, it aims to replicate the controls of real farming machinery. The numerous buttons and the immersive design are its strongest points, providing a level of control and engagement that is unmatched by traditional gaming peripherals.

However, the system is not without its shortcomings. Its large size can be inconvenient, and the build quality is underwhelming for a device in its price range. The colorful buttons contribute to a less serious, more toy-like aesthetic, which can detract from the overall experience. Additionally, as complete as the system is, it did not completely remove the need for me to use a mouse and keyboard.

While the HORI Farming Vehicle Control System is fun to use and brings players closer to the feel of real farming controls than any other product currently available, it is marred by plasticy components, questionable durability, and a hefty price tag. For dedicated farming simulator enthusiasts with the space and budget to accommodate it, the system offers a unique and immersive experience, and I don't see myself playing Farming Simulator without it ever again.


This review is based on using the Farming Vehicle Control System with a PC and Farming Simulator 22.

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Jan has been playing video games for nearly 30 years and been a passionate geek for the better part of his life. When he's not grinding his way through Destiny in search of further lore, he can often be found neck deep in source code of various apps and websites. Feel free to ask him about whether or not Guardians are actually evil or not, and whether or not he'll give you some free SEO tech tips. You can follow him on Twitter @ChalkOne.

Pros
  • All the functionality you could want
  • Full-size wheel feels great for farming vehicles
  • Most buttons work in Farming Simulator 22 by default
Cons
  • Questionable build quality
  • Devices take up a large amount of desk space
  • Design of the joystick control panel is cartoonish
  • Expensive compared to its nearest competitor
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