Forgoing the time travel powers of the first game, Before the Storm instead introduces a new gameplay mechanic that takes the form of a dialogue puzzle. Each time Chloe is conversing with someone who she hopes to persuade, the option of using Backtalk becomes available. Backtalk has Chloe use her wit to throw insults back at the other character, or cleverly try to change their perspective. Backtalk is optional, and even if you fail a sequence, you can just find another method or route.
"Certain dialogue choices, marked with sweary speech bubbles, trigger a backtalk sequence. It’s a minigame of sorts in which Chloe, without the time-twisting powers of her friend Max, exercises her most potent ability: aggressive sarcasm. Chloe and her target trade insults, and there are ‘correct’ choices to make, picked out by figuring out the response that most directly plays with the previous line of dialogue."
- "In Backtalk, you use arguments and insults to get someone to do what you want.
To succeed, pay attention to what your opponent says...then pick a comeback that reflects their words back at them."
- — Backtalk tutorial
Backtalk is essentially a timed dialogue with a scoring system with a "correct" answer being a point for the player and a "wrong" answer (or saying nothing) being a point for the opponent.Whoever has first reached the required number of points (shown in the user interface) is the winner.
Backtalk Challenges Edit
Backtalk challenges appear when Chloe has certain objectives, e.g. getting into the club in Episode 1. Failing the challenges however does not prevent the player from progressing within the story; the player may find alternative solutions to a problem, be forced to deal with negative consequences, or avoid certain challenges altogether. Depending on the outcome of the backtalk opportunity, certain consequences will occur; see here.
Firewalk Bouncer Edit
Objective: To get into the punk club.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she must get into the punk club using the dog kennel and the back door.
"Isn't it past your bed time?"
- Your bedtime? (+1/5)
- No bedtime. (+1/5)
- Do me a solid. (-1/4)
"Real cute. But I still don't know you." or "Stop being cute and just split."
- What could it hurt? (-1/4)
- I don't do cute. (+1/5)
- Cute is relative. (+1/5)
"Ok, kid. I get it, you're tough." or "Kid, you're not listening. Beat it!"
- This isn't a playground. (+1/5)
- Fine. I'll sneak in. (-1/4)
- I am not a kid! (+1/5)
"A girl like you... I can't protect you in there." or "Girls like you get chewed up in there."
- A girl like me? (+1/5)
- Girls kick ass. (+1/5)
- Flowers on your bike? (If Chloe looked at the bike with flowers on it) (+1/5)
- I'm not worried. (-1/4)
"Look. My boss decides who gets in, alright?" or "My boss will kill me if I let you in."
- Who's your boss? (+1/5)
- Look the other way. (-1/4)
- Bosses suck. (+1/5)
"Okay, you're funny. But that's not the point." or "Around here funny people have a way of getting hurt."
- Knock, knock. (+1/5)
- F.U.N. (+1/5)
- You try too hard. (-1/4)
"Being mean won't get you anywhere, kid." or "Keep pushing me. See where it gets you."
- I'm sorry. (-1/4)
- Eat your feelings. (+1/5)
- Is that bracelet for real? (+1/5)
"You know Damon would probably get a kick out of you..." or "Doesn't matter, Damon doesn't like new people, okay?"
- Who's Damon? (+1/5)
- Help me out here! (-1/4)
- Damon Shmamon. (+1/5)
David's Lecture Edit
Objective: To get David to be quiet.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, David will give her the lecture anyway.
"Language! You are way out of line, young lady."
- French is a language. (+1/5)
- Military language. (+1/5)
- Mustache! (-1/2)
"You've got a smart mouth, don'tcha?" or "You're so smart. Too bad you don't know who you're dealing with here."
- You're stupid. (+1/5)
- Can't threaten me. (-1/2)
- Let me dumb it down. (+1/5)
"Hey! Watch your--I can crap bigger than you, got it?" or "I can crap bigger than you. Just remember that."
- Thought I smelled crap. (+1/5)
- You're the crap master. (+1/5)
- Just shoot me. (-1/2)
"You--! Your mother... You're breaking her heart!" or "It would break your mother's heart to hear you being so disrespectful."
- Don't pretend to care. (-1/2)
- Leave mom out of this. (+1/5)
- At least she has a heart. (+1/5)
"I was in the army! You will respect me!" or "In the army that kind of talk would get you assigned to KP duty for a month."
- I didn't enlist. (+1/5)
- You're not my father. (-1/2)
- Bill of Rights, fool. (+1/5)
"Look. Now. In this house--I have my job to do and...so do you!" or "My job is to make sure you and your mother have a safe and peaceful home."
- Go away. (-1/2)
- How about telecommuting. (+1/5)
- You have no job. (If Chloe saw the job fair flyer) (+1/5)
- You deserve a raise. (+1/5)
Principal Wells Edit
Objective: To get Wells to leave Chloe alone and not have to go to his office after school.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, she will have to go Principal Wells' office after school.
"And here I thought your well of witticisms had finally run dry."
- Learn some tolerance. (-1/1)
- Principal "Wells." I get it. (+1/3)
- My well is deep. (+1/3)
"Jokes? In my experiences, that's how the guilty cover up their infractions."
- Who's guilty now? (+1/3)
- Article four-twenty. (-1/1)
- The guilty have rights. (+1/3)
"We are a private institution, and policy allows me to search all students on the premises."
- You seem stressed. (-1/1)
- My own policy. (+1/3)
- The Prescotts' policy? (If Miss Grant mentions the Prescott donation to Chloe and Skip didn't mention the high risk policy) (+1/3)
- High risk policy? (If Skip mentioned that term) (+1/3)
- Insurance. (+1/3)
Objective: To get the dragonkin's keys.
"He steps back, his scaly skin quivering in fear. What do you say?"
- Meat puppet. (+1/2)
- Dragons are pussies. (-1/2)
- Shoes. (+1/2)
"The dragonkin pleads with you. 'Please don't harm me, tall one. But I cannot give you key. Duurgaron much taller and meaner than you.'"
- Could make you shorter. (+1/2)
- Could make you taller. (+1/2)
- Die of old age. (-1/2)
- Grab the key. (-1/2)
- Pull out your stomach. (+1/2)
- Taste my axe. (+1/2)
Drew bullying Nathan Edit
Objective: To stop Drew from bullying Nathan.
Alternative: If Chloe fails, Drew will throw Nathan's portfolio in the fountain.
"What the hell did you just say to me?"
- Back off? (+1/4)
- Idiot? (+1/4)
- Leave. Now. (-1/2)
"You're seriously defending Nathan Prescott?" or "You're actually standing up for Nathan Prescott?"
- Nathan's an easy target. (+1/4)
- That's hardly fair. (-1/2)
- Got me feeling sorry for a Prescott. (+1/4)
"You're such a crazy freak! Mind Your own business." or "Are you crazy? Mind your own business, freak."
- I'm crazy, that's true. (+1/4)
- What if he cries to Daddy? (-1/2)
- You know what's crazy? (+1/4)
"You want a piece of this?"
- No thanks. (-1/2)
- A piece of your bromance? (+1/4)
- A piece of cake. (+1/4)
"You think this is funny? You think I'm joking, here?" or "Do you really think I'm going to let you talk to me like that?"
- You suck. (-1/2)
- I think we're done. (+1/4)
- Think? (+1/4)
Picnicking Couple Edit
Objective: To steal the couple's wine bottle.
Alternative: If Chloe fails,
"What are you waiting for? Go!"
- Who's the one waiting? (+1/3)
- Won't have long to wait long. (+1/3)
- Sterilize the wound. (-1/1)
"Good point. We'll keep watch while you go."
- Watch out for rabies. (+1/3)
- Here's some medicine. (-1/1)
- Watch her die? (+1/3)
"This woman need help from someone who actually knows what they're doing."
- It's contagious. (-1/1)
- Good Samaritans. (+1/3)
- Unlock your potential. (If Chloe overheard the picnicking couple while looking for a way to use the viewfinder) (+1/3)
- Encouraging platitude. (+1/3)
- The reason for leaving time travel powers behind, outside of canon reasons, is because Deck Nine wanted the game to center on realistic characters and storytelling. “We didn’t want to focus on science fiction, but instead what we think was so courageous about the first game: authentic flawed characters, and a story that was, despite the time travel, incredibly well-written,” lead writer Zak Garriss says.
- The symbol used for showing that Chloe won her backtalk challenge is a skull which bears an uncanny resemblance to the misfit skull symbol Chloe has on her shirt in Life is Strange, the only difference being that both symbols are mirrored.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Five Ways The Prequel Changes Things Up (August 22, 2017)
- ↑ Life Is Strange: Before The Storm is a coming-of-age tragedy (August 22, 2017)