If you’ve been around this site for a while, you know my affinity for Pro Clubs. For my money, it’s one of the most fun yet frustrating modes that EA offers. For me, Pro Clubs symbolizes everything that’s both good and bad with EA Sports FC. Starting with the good, Pro Clubs is the epitome of what esports should be, 11 versus 11 all working together as a team, complete with a club captain and some sort of tactical gameplan. Unfortunately, EA has treated Pro Clubs like an afterthought because they can’t monetize it quite like Ultimate Team and thus the updates year-on-year often leave the Pro Clubs left wanting more. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what’s in store for Pro Clubs this year in EA Sports FC 24.
What I Like
Cross-platform play has to be one of the biggest additions in quite some time for Pro Clubs. Since the move to next-gen consoles a few years back the community has been split, not only between console manufacturers but also within the same console family (PS5 & PS4). This divide really limited the pool of available teams to play when matching up, which resulted in longer wait times when searching for matches and frequently saw you play the same club once you reached the higher divisions. Without endangering myself by giving away too much from the EA Sports FC 24 online beta, I will say that the connections have been smooth and it’s very easy to identify which console/gaming device other players are on.
With the huge changes to how Seasons work and an emphasis on not ending matches as a draw, the addition of penalty shootouts adds a fun dynamic to the game and will surely add some much needed banter to your chat as your teammates step up to the spot. It remains to be seen how the keepers will be handled and who will get the call to stop shots, but I look forward to watching my clubmates step up amidst the pressure.
What I’m On The Fence About
Fans & Club Reputation
Overall, I like the idea of fans and club reputations, especially as it increases your ability to upgrade your stadium and its vanity elements, but why not incorporate some sort of Ultimate Team-like marketplace where you can upgrade your AI teammates? 11 versus 11 is always the dream in Pro Clubs, but the reality is that your team will have to field some AI teammates and usually they are pretty terrible, especially if they’re in the attacking areas. With all of the legends available in FUT, why not allow us to earn points and actually fill out squads with real players from the vast FIFPRO license EA has at its disposal?
What I Don’t Like
Lack Of Subs/Watch Feature
Why, in 2023, we still can’t join a match in progress and sub in is beyond me. Subs play a huge role in any real match and the ability to have an impact player who happened to log on late and/or is tired is baffling. Even more frustrating is why we’re forced to wait in the match lobby and just watch the ticker for match scores and time. I’d love to be able to have a spectator mode or the ability to rejoin a match when my connection craps out and I’m booted from a match.
Similar to my thoughts on PlayStyles from the Gameplay Deep Dive, I’m not necessarily anti-PlayStyles, I’m more upset that EA has decided to rebrand something that already existed in the game before and passed it off as a new feature solely because they’ve enhanced it by adding a few more PlayStyles. With six PlayStyes there for our unlocking, plus an additional two through PlayStyles+ there doesn’t seem to be enough variety and unfortunately this seems like a feature that will easily be abused as players look for the meta.
Personally, I’d love the ability to complete training sessions as a team inside of Pro Clubs. Imagine the fun of participating in shooting drills with your Pro Club teammates with some sort of incentive to place high in the individualized training drills. In addition, there are so many training opportunities within career mode now where you’re doing 2 v 1s and 3 v 2s (think counter-attacking scenarios) that could be extended to Pro Clubs. I do like how they’ve extended some individual training sessions to Pro Clubs but more could be done to incorporate your clubmates.
With a secondary mode like Pro Clubs, EA is never going to make it a priority unless they find a way to monetize it similar to Ultimate Team. With that being said, the incorporation of crossplay alone takes Pro Clubs to another level, bringing together players who would have otherwise had to plunk down some cash on expensive gaming systems just to link their friends. The gameplay is what it is at this point inside of Pro Clubs so we can only expect a pinch of realism amidst all the fast paced end-to-end action. In conclusion, Pro Clubs is still one of the best modes on offer and it’s encouraging to see EA devote some resources to it.