The EA client lets you choose if you want to update games automatically when they are updates available or rather do it manually.
The options affects all games. If the option is turned on, all games will automatically be patched on starting the client if there’s a patch available. If you turn the option off, you can start the patch manually for each game.
Depending on the game, the update is necessary before you can start the game. Some game can be started without updating after putting the game in offline mode.