Fifa 18’s Pro Club mode is a convoluted mess. Fifa 18 touts numerous game modes that alter the soccer experience in several ways with Pro Clubs being included in the list. Pro Clubs allow players to group up with friends or randoms in an attempt to conquer the net with their own personalized characters propped up by the skills chosen by the individual characters. Soccer of course includes a group of eleven players attempting to defeat the opposing team by scoring goals in a collective effort. This is exactly where pro clubs falls short, the interactivity between you and your teammates.
When playing with friends you can communicate with them in hopes of creating interesting runs that can cause Fifa 18 to flow correctly. On the contrary, drop in matches with randoms will be devoid of proper communication; leaving the core Fifa mechanics in shambles. The game hopes that you and your teammates properly utilize the calling for the ball function in the game, forcing the computer to pass through the labyrinth of players on the field.
The problem with the calling for ball system, CFBS for our sanity, is that there is always, I mean ALWAYS a teammate that continues to spam the CFBS feature when he is in coverage, causing the computer to make a bad pass and turn the ball over.Selectively pressing the CFBS button will cause it to work effectively but we all know that sharing is difficult. When played properly, pro clubs can be a rewards game mode that challenges player to think outside the box. There were a few matches that I found myself with a higher IQ than a peanut so we were able to work together somewhat easily, achieving victory in the end.
Along with the classic CFBS spammer, I found out today that there is an even worse individual out there sliming up the Fifa 18 matchmaking. In Fifa pro clubs you are asked to choose your position for the ensuing match, this simultaneously happens while your other teammates also choose their positions on the field. This player, I’m sure upon realization that their favorite position was taken, decided to play as our goalie. Playing goalie is an admirable duty, our teams last line of defense which is often the most boring position of the match. The player even had the gall to inform Fifa 18 to refer to his player as Messi. This player named Messi scuffed the turf with his cleats near our goal but as soon as the whistle signaled the start of the match he was off. Messi accelerated up the field with ease, pushing the opposing team on their own side of the field.
Upon some miracle put in place by the Fifa gods, my team scores a goal even with our goalie pushing the ball constantly. For a moment I felt a sense of hope, my mind traveled to a dimension in which we win the game with our goalie idly in the middle of the field. By the time I awoke from my slumber the opposing team was pushing down the field towards our goal. Ensuring that no time would be wasted, the enemy team scored almost instantly as our goalie pushed outside the 18 towards them. My team did employ one defender to replace our goalie. He did a valiant job in trying to protect our goal from the relentless onslaught of shots the opposing team threw at our goal.
They shot from outside the 18, time after time our heroic defender used his own body as a meatshield for the goal but to no avail, he was not enough to keep the game even. The griefer ended up costing us not only the game, but fifteen minutes of our lives.
To participate in Pro Clubs you must go through the motions of creating a character. To truly live out my Fifa 18 life I created an individual who did not resemble me in the slightest, even going to the extremes of playing as a 6’4 center attacking mid. After spending minimal time on my name I moved forward with my character, placing my skills pints into the many talent trees found in Pro Clubs customization. My playstyle in Fifa 18 relies heavily on placing long distance shots from the edge of the 18. To accommodate my playstyle I placed most of my skill points into shooting, specifically shooting from distance.
The talent tree offers a variety of options when customizing your player, allowing you the opportunity to specialize in dribbling, passing, shooting, or defending. Worried about to committing to one of those options? Fifa Pro Clubs allows you to reslot your skills and also provides players with three slots to customize various playstyles.
Earning skill points seems to be a random occurrence as I did not receive any skill points from winning a game, (scored even) leveling up my overall rating, and also from ending the game with two assists. When you do receive skill points you receive a random number, on occasion I did receive 8 skill points but other times I only received 3. This system causes me to be unsure of how effective this game mode is as I cannot easily plan out my progression to becoming a superstar.
Playing Pro Clubs can be fun with friends once you figure out how to effectively play with one another as drastic playstyle preferences can ruin teamwork even in the simplest interactions. The problem with Pro Clubs is that your team controlled by the computer does not remain consistent across each game and each of the CPU characters do not increase in skill over time. This causes many flaws in the matches you play as the CPU goalie or defenders may continuously fail you even though they had a shut out match the previous games with miraculous plays. The inconsistency will drive you crazy while trying to find wins against other players online.
You can also play different ways with your friends in Pro Clubs, depending on your preference. A player can control all the computer players on the field along with their own player while the rest of the squad only controls one character or you can allow the computer to control every player that is not controlled by a human player. Having one person control so much of the match will provide additional angst for the person who is in control, providing a feeling of frustration when their pass fails or when the defense falters, feeling as though you are the main cause of the loss. To accommodate for this I would suggest a change in the number of players you control. Allowing each person to control a group of the players allows the gameplay to feel more evenly distributed among the team while also supporting interactivity between all players. The current system is just plain boring for most of the team even when the person in control of the most players is generous to the individual players.
Lastly, there is the game rating. The game rating system allots points to players that play well during the match with only one problem. That problem is of course that the points don’t actually work correctly. Playing in position is obviously important in soccer but in Fifa 18 you are harshly punished for being out of position even in the most dire of situations such as playing back on defense or attacking the opponents goal. Your score can drop quickly even as your player springs back towards your original position, reducing the score that you may have just gained from performing incredible plays.
Fifa 18’s Pro Club game mode is a unique way to take a break from the hassle of controlling an entire team for a match of soccer. While Pro Clubs does offer a system of progression for your character, the game lacks any explanation for said progression system. The in game rating system fails to account for unique situations, leaving players feelings though they should just ignore the match and remain in their zone. All in all I think Fifa 18’s Pro Clubs game mode can be a much needed break from the monotony of the game but does deserve a second look from the developers.
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