Joystick on a budget
The above holds true also for Logitech Attack 3. It is the most affordable of Logitech's selection of gaming joysticks and the only one of them that is also ambidextrous. This translates into no force feedback, no twist handle, no hat switch. But, despite these shortcomings, we ventured to see if the Attack 3 is of at least some use in flight simulators and other games that require a joystick to be fully enjoyed.
The design of the Attack 3 joystick resembles the more expensive joysticks Logitech has on the market, except that it is a bit smaller, requiring less space on the table. Overall, the joystick professes 11 buttons, but – due to the ambidextrous design – only 9 of these buttons are effectively usable. This is because there are two buttons on the base of the unit on either side of the joystick that you can use with your free hand and naturally you will not be able to reach the buttons on the opposite side of the joystick too well when you play. Additional 2 buttons are located by the throttle switch on the front side of the unit while the remaining 5 buttons are all on the stick itself, one of them being the trigger. All of the buttons give a nice click when pressed, so you know that the button press will have been registered.
Given its limitations, Attack 3 is a reliable partner to any aspiring simulator pilot. The joystick handle may be on the small side to someone with a large hand (me), but not uncomfortably so, and the top buttons are easy to reach with the touch of a thumb. The throttle switch is in the middle of the front panel of the joystick, so it may be hidden a bit by the player's wrist, but it can still be reached nicely with the other hand. The pads on the bottom of the base keep the unit solidly on the table surface and you don't have to keep it in place with your other hand as you play – allowing you to use the keyboard or the mouse for those actions that cannot be performed with the joystick. Given the lack of a hat switch, this need is real.
The failings of this budget joystick cannot be denied. Even if you can use the mouse to somewhat alleviate the lack of a hat switch, there are functions that simply cannot be replaced with any other method. One of these is rudder control, which is an essential part of any flight experience. Some simulators allow you to set rudder control to auto whenever you bank your plane, but for those small manoeuvres that you want to make to align your aiming reticule in air battles, the rudder control is of utmost importance. And let me not start on take-offs and landings, when your plane wants to turn left and you don't have pedals to adjust the rudder with. The lack of a twist handle on the Attack 3 is therefore a real failing.