After the initial cutscene that will take you to the title screen for the first time, and you’ve started a new game, you’ll get another cutscene, which will end in you being dropped into a cave as a young Aloy and the first time you get control.
This is pretty much the first part in an extended tutorial that takes up a large amount of the front end of the game. Get used to the controls as you explore, but they’re pretty standard action adventure to be honest. Head forward through the cave, it doesn’t matter which direciton you take, both paths end up at the same point. Crouch through the first obstacle, and head through the rooms you arrive in. There’s nothing of worth to you in here at this point in the game, so despite how tantalising the stuff through the blocked doorways might look, don’t bother trying to get to them for now.
Keep following the path through the cave until you reach the dead guy. Examine the body to trigger a cutscene, once it’s done, you’ll have your Focus, which functions much in the same way as Witcher Senses did in Witcher 3. Head upstairs to the blast door and hold your reticule on it for a couple of seconds to scan it. Keep your Focus activated and scan to your right, where there will be a cabinet looking object highlighted in pink. Scan that to update your waypoint, then follow the marker into the room next door. Once you get to the holo lock, turn it twice to unlock it, then head back through to the blast doors, which you’ll now be able to open. Go through the door and down the stairs, ignoring the items behind the blocked doorway - again you’ll be able to pick them up at a later point in the game. Down the stairs, you’ll notice a box appear on your hud compass, that signals a scannable datapoint.
These act as a good number of the collectibles in the game, and they also give you a great deal of info about the history of the game’s world, so they’re well worth keeping your eyes out for. Scan the data point and watch the cutscene. After that, go through to the next room and squeeze your way through the gap between the doors. In the next room there will be a number of datapoints you can scan. Helpfully, as before, they’ll appear on your compass if you get within a certain range of them, so unlike some collectibles, they’re not a huge pain to find. Having said that, if you have your Focus active, you’ll be able to find them at a greater distance.
There should be 5 datapoints to scan, all within easy reach of each other. They’re pretty much designed to be found to help you get a feel for the mechanic. Once you have all of them scanned, follow your waypoint through the rest of the cave until you reach the point where Rost finds you and the cutscene begins. That’s the end of this section of prologue.
After the cutscene, first things first is basically to just do what Rost tells you. Gather the herbs he tells you to, follow him as you avoid the Watchers and help him take a Watcher down. This part is simple, and you shouldn’t have much trouble with it.
Eventually you’ll reach a point where he gives you your first bow, and it’s time to make your first kill! Scan the Strider when the game tells you to, but pay attention to how this mechanic works as using it well will come in useful throughout the game. Yellow highlighted areas are weakpoints, and if you put your reticule over it, the Focus will also tell you what type of damage that particular weakpoint is susceptible to. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more and more damage types, so be aware of what’s weak to what.
Take down the Strider, loot it, then follow Rost to where the Brave is calling for help to start the cutscene. After you’re back in control it’s a simple Metal Gear Solid style, avoid the patrols task. Use your Focus to highlight the Watcher’s paths and wait for them to stop and scan to dart between the long grass patches. Top tip, the game doesn’t seem to count rolling as making any more noise than crouch walking, so the quickest way to get between patches is to roll.
Reach the Brave to trigger a short cutscene, then use the exact same tactics you used to get to him to get back to Rost. Once you do, it’ll trigger another cutscene where at one point you’ll be given a choice of what to do. It’s entirely up to you, but it will affect certain character interactions later in the game, so choose wisely. Once that’s over, that’ll be the childhood prologue finished. Once you get control of Aloy again, she’ll be a young woman and the open world will be available to you.