then it doesn't matter so much about the amount of image files used for your character
That is a good news. Because I really love the camera work in 2.5D's Grim Fandango and Syberia and I would like to have a similar camera work (or cinematography if you will) in my game even it's just a sprite based without dynamic light. If you have just one character perspective with one camera perspetive for all yours backgrounds it just look like a theatre stage, right? Bad immersion for player I think.
And we could also fake the lighting effects with Shader Toolkit just a little, like Pyke did with his flash-light sample - it's beautiful.
Yes there are workarounds with normal maps and stuff, check out this XNA dude:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFbNqYkD1r4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q6ISVaM5Ww