Unlike its predecessors, Front Mission Evolved is a third-person shooter instead of a strategy game. The player takes the role of Dylan Ramsey, who is a mech robot technician. When terrorists attack New York, he takes control over one of them to rescue his father. During the course of the game he meets allies which (autonomously) fight on his side in most missions.
In contrast to other mech based games the robots found in this game are agile: they can jump and dodge. The gameplay itself is very straight forward: Walking through linear levels while destroying every opposition. The only exception are on-foot missions in which the player has to infiltrate buildings. Ammo and armor are limited and don't refill themselves, but the player can walk over boxes for refreshments. The E.D.G.E. defense system acts like a regular bullet time mode: it can't be used indefinitely, slows down time and cuts down taken damage.
Between missions the player can buy new weapons or equipment and change the look of the mech.