99 Prime Icon Pelé FIFA Mobile Player Review

In the middle of a frustrating period for some users during which a subset of the FIFA Mobile player base were waiting to regain access to their team, some startling news took the community by storm: Prime Pele was coming to FM.

At 99-overall rated, Prime Pele was set to become the highest rated base item to date. While taking him that last hurdle to his max-training rating of 100 overall isn't an easy hurdle -- it costs 1,472,629 XP and 1,540,842 coins to boot on top of that -- it probably wouldn't particularly phase those lucky enough to pack the iconic football standard-bearer.

So what's the catch? Prime Pele is only available in the covetous "Program Player Packs". It's no surprise to have a limited time only FIFA Points exclusive promotion like the packs offer, but as these are only available once every fortnight or so, it would mean a short window on top of the already high degree of difficulty in actually pulling one.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the 99 God of the game. And while there's plenty of good, "O Rei", Portuguese for "The King", doesn't come without a few areas worth thinking critically about as well.

In-Game Stats

Pele is a complete monster. If you're unfamiliar with Futhead's "Attacking Rating" -- a proprietary algorithm unique to FIFA Mobile based on input from FM producers, power users, and some of the experts from Season 1 & Season 2 of the game as to the most important statistics for attacking players -- whether you're looking at base items, Max Training (100 OVR), or Max Training + Max Boosts (120) overall, Pele is truly in a class almost by himself.

For our purposes, since I primarily used him a decent amount out of position -- which I'll explain momentarily -- we'll look at his pure base stats. And they're still rather daunting:

That many 120s, at base no less, is something you pretty much never see in FIFA Mobile. 120 across the boards in every stat in Pace and Shooting and Agility. Prime Pele looks like you're using a cheat code.

With the coveted "Second Striker" boost, Skill Boosts will make him even more ludicrous as you rapidly approach the max 140 in some of those stats.

He's a truly special player on paper.

So how does he translate to gameplay?

Squad

While we usually highlight the squad used for the review, I used about around three or four different ones during the course of two dozen evaluatory matches and turns.

In truly first world problems, in full disclosure, I also obtained Prime Ronaldinho the last time "Program Player Packs" were available and using his Icon campaign, which I'd unlocked when his base Icon item was still acquirable through traditional means, trained him up to 100-overall and ranked him up. That means I'm pretty much forced to keep using him -- what kind of mad man would burn a Prime Icon? -- but as there are no formations in FIFA Mobile that feature both CAM and CF, my hands were tied. Either use Ronaldinho at the likes of CM or wing and lose his skill boost benefits, or do the same to Pele.

As a 3-4-3 Diamond primary player, I opted mostly to keep the ranked Prime Ronaldinho at CAM and play Pele out-of-position at ST. I did, for the sake of comparison, play a half dozen or more VS Attack matches and a couple League Vs League turns with 3-5-1-1, which many top players swear by as one of – if not – the best formations in the game with Ronaldinho OOP at CM. As a bit of an aside, I did find the turns were interestingly favorable, though more so towards the LM and RM positions than any of the attackers. But as I felt Pele was better OOP than Ronaldinho, I opted primarily to stick with my highest rated and most familiar formation of 343D.

But let's get to how he plays.

Player review

From a strictly gameplay perspective, there's almost no downside to the Prime Pele. There aren't a lot of players I'd say crossover in terms of feel from FIFA console to FIFA Mobile, but Pele handles so similarly to his console analogue it's almost absurd.

From the long stride -- though just 173 cm (5'8), he gallops like a prized race horse -- to his fluid shot and release, as those few of you who unlocked his Squad Building Challenge base Icon can likely speak to as well, Pele's just silky smooth up and down the pitch. His 110 base heading rating also allows him to overcome his diminutive stature; I can't even count how many headed goals he scored from set pieces. Since you aren't relying on him defensively at CF (or OOP at striker), the height shouldn't be a truly lingering problem anyway you choose to utilize him.

It seems silly to suggest it's skill or anything specialized to those of us who've logged quite a few games of FIFA Mobile, but for whatever reason, his chip shots were the best angled of any player I've used this FM. I'd say to an experienced player, your chip shot efficacy percentage is probably around 95%? Maybe once in a blue moon you'll tap the wrong side of the goal or release too late and the keeper will get to it and you'll feel foolish. Pele was textbook perfect in these sort of situations.

There was also no long wind up when he shot the ball. While I find Prime Ronaldinho to be one of the most enjoyable players I've had the privilege of running out for VsA and LvLs alike, his extended shooting motion sometimes leaves him prone to deflections and saves he shouldn't otherwise be exposed to. There was no such problems with his fellow Brazilian.

Taking most of my corners, he was as perfect on those as is conceivable. And while I don't specifically recall him taking set pieces otherwise -- La Liga Rivalries Bale or Prime Ronaldinho owned those -- his ratings are such that if he's your highest rated in that department, he surely wouldn't let you down.

I noticed very little difference in playing him on position at CF in a 3-5-1-1 or out of position at striker in other formations. My Type-A personality gets revved up at the thought of playing a player not on full boost, but if there was a player where it may truly not matter a ton, Prime Pele would likely be it. A rank up or two, while far from a cheap proposition, would also mitigate the dozen plus loss of skill boosts to your overall you'd experience.

But still, the elephant in the room: that Center Forward position. CFs, LFs, and RFs tend to trigger most casual and hardcore FM players alike, but as mentioned, many at the top of the leaderboard have been really swearing by the 3-5-1-1 lately. While it's an expensive proposition to undertake a formation change more than likely halfway through this year's game, if anything's worth it, surely it's this item. Besides, if you go all in on the Program Player Packs and/or bundles and you get the likes of a 99 Pele, are you really going to sit him or play him out of position long term?

Summary

Prime Pele is truly an exotic foreign sports car. Expensive, impractical, and maybe even a bit strange at first. But once you get behind the wheel, you aren't going to want to drive anything else. A lack of height and that CF position may leave some concerned, but a few turns with the 99 Brazilian will convert any doubter into a believer.

With it likely the Program Player Packs with Prime Pele will be back around before you know it, if you're a P2P player or even a medium investor in the game (and subsequently your team), if you're fortunate enough to have fate smile in your favor, enjoy; you'll be playing with perhaps the best attacking player so far in this year's FIFA Mobile.

Rating: 10/10

Value for spend: N/A

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