New article: Valkyrie Profile 2 review
To get the easy part out of the way, Valkyrie Profile 2's main perspective, used for good old exploration of towns and
dungeons, is that of a 2D sidescroller. The world is rendered in 3D, and the camera's path as it follows your character
can be quite curvy. You can however go only strictly left or right through this world, and jump (or fall). The entire game
world proper is sectioned into such "flat" areas and rooms.
There's also equipment crafting, you can recruit new characters that are basically the same as the characters you already have, but with new names, you can equip seal stones that will grant your party special benefits inside an area, and you get to play as a princess possessed by the spirit of a valkyrie!
And now for the parts that matter.
When you're done chatting with townsfolk and got that new pair of shoes, you'll inevitably head into a dungeon, and find out that the game features a surprising amount of platforming, going by RPG conventions at least. To this end, the game allows you to fire "photons" at roaming purple ghosts, which freezes them into a solid block for a few seconds. These blocks can then of course be used as stepping stones to reach higher-up treasure chests or alternate exits from a room. You can also swap places with such a frozen block simply by firing a second photon at it, which enables you to move blocks and/or yourself into more convenient places, such as from ground to mid-air, or through otherwise impassable iron bars.
Okay, now for the parts that really matter.
It's all nice and lush 3D, but in terms of how you can navigate it, Valkyrie Profile 2's world is a 2D sidescroller.