The Blink rune quickly proved to be most powerful tool in my arsenal. A mid-range teleportation power, it’s my immediate way out of these gloomy, dank, patrolled streets and up to the relative freedom and safety of the rooftops. No guards there, not on this level at least, but it’s not a straight run to my target – Sokolov lurks inside what looks for all the world like a giant, elevated greenhouse wearing battle armour, with a ring of guards, forcefields and alarms around its entrances.
To run/jump/Blink directly to this building would also be to deny myself many of this level’s other entertainments. Blink entails a subtle but important shift in how I think about videogame navigation. Initially, I treat it as simply a way to teleport across short distances, to reach different altitudes and otherwise out of reach ledges and to instantly escape danger. A shortcut, essentially. What it also does, and something I don’t realise without prompting from a passing Bethesda rep, is allow access to whole new areas of the map.
I’ve become so accustomed, over the years, of seeing a locked door or an indestructible fence/pile of rubble/old sofa blocking my path to a space I can see that here too I give such things a cursory glance then run on past. I’m inside a semi-ruined, multi-level apartment building, making my way up the stairs to the roofs, and on the right of me is the entrance to a side room, blocked by fallen furniture. My knife has no effect on it. I continue upwards.
Wait. Go back. OK, so I can’t walk through, jump over or smash that barrier, but there is a big enough gap that I can at least see the space on the other side of it. Blink. And I’m in. Here be secrets. Assorted vials for health and mana, some cash, and best of all a Bone Charm – a minor buff I can equip. In this case, it increases the number of white rats I encounter, which allow for longer psychic possession times than the standard rodents. Thank you, Blink. My progress through the level is now slowed dramatically, as I’m constantly scouring my surroundings for possible secret spaces.