In the end, Front Mission Evolved feels like more of a lateral step. As a mech shooter, it's functional, but unremarkable. As a part of the greater Front Mission canon, though, it may as well not exist. And yet, with all that in mind, there is still an almost primal nerd thrill in being able to point your crosshairs at a target and hold down all of the shoulder buttons on your controller, then see (and hear) four distinct weapons all let loose simultaneously.
That kind of alpha strike excitement is the sort you can only really get from a mecha game, no matter how bland in the greater scheme of things. Given the relative scarcity of halfway-decent mech games, that alone would probably justify a weekend rental.