FIFA 12 Beginner’s Guide: Understanding The Different Game Modes

The record breaking sales of FIFA 12 (3.2 million sold in its first week alone) illustrated that not only is it proving to be one of the most popular gaming franchises on the planet, it is also one of the best. With a variety of new features built into the game, in terms of game play, commentary and extra game modes, the FIFA cult has just added a few more fans to their legion of followers in what promises to be the greatest football game ever made.

The different game modes that FIFA 12 offers can be overwhelming at first for someone new to the game, or video gamers who haven’t played the series very often. To help, we’re broken the different game modes that you can choose from, to help you navigate through the game:

Career Mode


The first of these includes the Career Mode, which allows you to participate as manager, player-manager or simply just a player of a real-life club.

You can take charge of Manchester United and try to maintain their winning ways with Rooney and co. or you could try and become a legendary player of an English fourth tier side that propels his team to European glory over the course of his playing career. The choice is yours! As a manager, you are in total power of the club and dictate its destiny in terms of transfers, scouting/youth academy as well as the growth of your players. However be cautious because if your results don’t match the board’s expectations, don’t expect to hang around the club for long! You will be notified of the anticipated hopes of your employers and they will be monitoring you throughout the season to ensure their aims are being fulfilled. Likewise if you’re a player who isn’t putting in the desired, the manager might not remain patient with you for much longer. The chances are that you’ll have to look for a new club as you experience the highs and lows of the real-life beautiful game

A new mode to this edition is Head to Head Seasons and Online Friendlies. Head to Head Seasons is an online league, divided into different divisions. You start in the 10th division, and at the end of each 10-match season your results determine whether you get promoted or relegated. You get three points for a win and one for a draw, with the amount of points needed for promotion getting ever higher as you advance. Each division also has its own cup to win, starting with the EA Shield for lower divisions, through to the Premier Cup for the top tier. Tournaments for cups take place every few weeks, so you’ve always got another opening to contend for some silverware if you lose out the first time. Your performance is tracked too, so you can see how you compare to the rest of the online community, with a table showing you how many contenders are in each league. Many of the other characteristic game modes are still in the game such as create your own tournament or simply play in a real tournament eg. The FA Cup.

Ultimate Team


FIFA 12’s Ultimate Team mode allows users to do exactly what it says on the tin: Create your ultimate team. This can be done by purchasing, selling, auctioneering and swapping players with thousands of other gamers online. In order to build your ultimate team, you must earn coins which in turn are spent on buying better players to aid your progression to put yourself among the FIFA-playing elite of this world. These virtual coins can be earned by winning tournaments online or if you’d prefer the quicker, albeit more expensive route, you can buy them with real money.

Live Season

Live Season is where you take control of a club such as Liverpool or Arsenal and play out their season, exactly as it has been scheduled. For example, if Arsenal are set to play Tottenham on gameweek 26 of the Premier League in the 2011-12 season, you will play that fixture around the same time. If Tottenham manage to beat their city rivals, you can avenge that defeat when you dictate the virtual version. Live Season is updated every single week so every individual players form and attributes are always fluctuating and correspond with their real-life form to make it the most authentically realistic football experience on a games console yet. However it does come at a cost as EA charge £4.99 (US $7.99) for every league you buy.


Tournaments are another part of EA’s self-proclaimed ‘’revolutionized’’ online side of the game. Every few weeks, you can enter the cup competitions they have set up. To make it extremely fair, teams of similar strength are pitted against each other — ie. Manchester United would play Liverpool instead of a weaker side like Wigan. The better players of the game around the world, who use more manual controls, also take on each other head-to-head which truly reinforces FIFA’s message of ‘’Fair Play’’, even if it’s only in the video game! In tournaments, you can also try and capture some of the magic of the FA Cup by bringing a lower league team through the world’s oldest cup competition to the ultimate knock-out glory. However if you enjoy manager mode but cups aren’t your thing, you can take charge of a club and try and win the league with them. From winning the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund to dominating the Scottish Premier League with Rangers, there’s something for everyone.

EA Sports Arena

The EA Sports Arena is where footballers are born and finely tuned. You are alone on a pitch with only a goalkeeper where you are free to do what you like which includes taking free kicks, penalties, perfecting skill moves plus improving your dribbling and finishing. You can choose the player you want to control and the goalkeeper you want to beat over and over again can. In addition to this, you can play training matches or create set piece routines which are designed to bamboozle the opposition defense and score a goal.

Virtual Pro

Virtual Pro is where you live out your dream of recreating yourself within the game and become a professional footballer at last! This player can be used in all the other modes of the game such as the Arena and tournaments. You can improve your player by giving him game time in career mode as well as spending time fine-tuning his rawness in the arena. To give your player your complete likeness, you can take a photo of yourself, upload it onto, download it onto your console and add it to your player’s face to give yourself the added touch of originality!

EA Sports Football Club


Finally EA Sports Football Club is another brand new game mode of the FIFA gaming franchise. All of your progress is tracked and you will be awarded XP points for your endeavors. You will be compared to your friends online as well as being placed on the worldwide leaderboard to compare yourself with the cream of the crop. Whatever team you support or have a fondness for, you choose to play with that team online. Every fanbase fights for the bragging rights to get their club to the top of the leaderboard by earning XP points. The amount of points the fans of your fellow club has earned will be divided evenly among the number of fans which you have online and whatever you result, you could be promoted, relegated or be crowned world champions for that “season.”

FIFA 12 had a lot to live up to after last year’s magnificently put together gaming experience but the slight improvements that they have done, have made all the difference in the world. Games are fairer and more realistic. The depth and the lifespan of the game make it as addictive as any drug on the planet. And above all, you can do some incredible things with a football than otherwise in real life, you might not! It’s definitely the closest thing you can get to playing the beautiful game without having to put on a pair of boots.

14 thoughts on “FIFA 12 Beginner’s Guide: Understanding The Different Game Modes”

  1. Can I play a friendly game in live season? Or can I have the live form when playing a quick friendly?

    I want to challenge a friend on the same consul but want to have teams with Live individual players form and attributes …


    1. Hi Ayoob,

      I don’t think you can play friendly games in live season with the latest form and attributes updated. However you can play him online with the latest squad updates (ie. attributes revised) which will be released on 23rd February.

      I hope this was helpful to you!

    1. Jean, FIFA 13 doesn’t come out for another seven months, and plenty of people only recently bought FIFA 12, so the article is still timely and hopefully helpful to many, myself included.

      Congrats on Spurs and Inter. Who did you support in the Champions League last season when the two teams played?

      The Gaffer

  2. No one should be buying this game. Its full of glitches and the scripting controversy seems pretty real. EA messed up with this one and have the market capitalised since PES sucks. Its an addicting game, but spend any significant amount of time playing online and you will get bogus penalties from players bumping into eachother, unbalanced teams like madrid who have bloated stats with players who don’t tire, unbeatable keepers, and defenders that suddenly stop marking men and fumbling with the ball. The new impact engine is at the heart of the problems, it is not refined for a final release.

    I check the F12 section of the EA forums occasionally and the widespread disappointment with this game has been increasing. An increasing percentage of the threads are about the absurdities associated with this game.

  3. Agreed, Bard — the scripting is particularly obvious in the Head-to-Head seasons: The momentum mechanic pretty obviously favors a narrative (reflected by the announcers — talk of “amazing comebacks in the offing”, etc.). It’s incredibly easy to track the data — goals more common in the 40th to 45th and 85th to 90th minutes, goals very likely immediately following an opponent goal, sudden ‘stress-related’ stupid mistakes by computer controlled players once you’re down 2 goals, etc.

    It’s a shame, because the rest of the game is so great.

  4. Virtual Pro is where it’s at. Pro Clubs and Pro Ranked Match are the best modes in the whole game. Gives you a bigger sense of accomplishment than Head to Head or Ultimate Team.

  5. something that really buggs me is that you can only make 3 substitutions whether its a pre-season friendly or a mid season derby. it makes it difficult to see who your best players are. most of the time its not the highest rated players that perform the best.

  6. I find the game play to be fine for the most part, but I only play career mode and the occasional friendly in person. I’d prefer a more in depth off season but realize that’s where Football Manager takes over.

  7. Fifa 12 is terrible. Some fixtures are fun and other’s are so bad you turn the game off irrespective of the final score but simply because of the amount of pathetic, irritating and frustrating moments in Fifa 12 which EA have created in an attempt to almost write the story of your career mode. It’s the away fixture gameplay that is different to the home fixture gameplay that would explain it in a nut shell. In away games passing becomes more sloppy, dribbling and finishing are two other things which become what i would describe as effected rather than more difficult. If your performing well and it’s seemingly realistic you may finish above your teams predicted position the game will act in ways i have already mentioned.

    Fifa 12 isn’t fun and i’d describe it as an actual disaster, this is irrespective of it’s on shelf performances which were clearly a success. But nevertheless the game init’s self was failure. I don’e remember reading bad comments about any Fifa but i haven’t spoken to anyone who finds Fifa 12 a great game.

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