Paradox, unlike its predecessor, is a traditional turn based JRPG created in RPG Maker. Luka is able to freely move through the game world, collecting items, buying weapons and armor, and having random encounters with monsters. Luka can have up to seven companions with him at any given time but only four characters can participate in a battle. The other four remain passively on the sidelines but the party formation can be changed freely at any time outside of battle and at the start of each turn during a battle. Two more passive companions can be gained after resolving the navy quest. Another two are gained after completing the quest to subdue all the queens.
Health functions as it did in the first game: once a character's health has been fully depleted, that character is rendered inoperable for the remainder of the battle. However, unlike the original, party members can be revived except in special cases like Predation. Luka's status has no effect to the battle's outcome, even if all his health has been depleted, you'll still win if your party has HP remaining when the enemy does not.
In addition to the return of Skill Points, mana is a new stat resource that is used to trigger skills. Unlike skill points, attacking does not restore mana, and can only be replenished through items, certain skills, or by resting.
Every character has a general level, along with a job, and a race, all of which can be leveled up. The basic level increases stats, is increased by gaining normal Experience Points, and does not need to be managed. Jobs and Races grant new abilities and skills to be used in and out of combat and every character has multiple Jobs and Races accessible to them that can be changed by the priest at Ilias Temple without cost. Jobs and Races are leveled by accumulating Job Experience Points. Certain skills learned can only be used by certain jobs or races so if a character changes their job or race, some skills may become unavailable to used until the character is changes back to something that can use it. Characters will keep all skills they learned in the event of a change, even if they cannot use them after the change.
Normal and Job Experience are primarily gained through winning battles and both active and passive characters gain the same amount of EXP from a battle, regardless of whether or not they participated in it. The rate of experience point gain can be modified by accessories, skills and abilities.