MYTH is a lot of things. This is both good and bad, as its features both add to and take away from the experience.
As I was reading MYTH, I was wondering, “How can I possibly write a review for this without spoilers?” Now that I have completed it, I can confidently say that writing a review with few spoilers is will be so much easier than giving a full synopsis. Very few people would be willing to read a 5,000 word review about the insanity that is MYTH anyway. Even fewer would be able to comprehend it. There is simply too much content, too many concepts, and too many characters for me to comprehensively condense it into a single review. Let me tell you this right up front: MYTH is excellent, but I hated it about 50% of the time. Sound odd? Well, bear with me as I try to explain.
I imagine this is what happened to the original script. The loss of it made the writer go mad and led to MYTH’s current incarnation.
MYTH starts off in a rather cliche fashion. You read from the point of view of an average high schooler, Meito. He has a has a lame life and is looking for change – pretty standard fare. The only thing that comes across as odd is Meito’s mannerism. He acts almost robotic, and he’s very analytical about even the most mundane details. Listening to his description of the world he lives in accounts for his odd behavior.
Everything in Meito’s world revolves around a structure. Pleasure and desire do not exist. Anything that is not necessary is considered wasteful and even illegal. Meito even carries a notebook for tips on “how to live.” To top it all off, the inhabitants of this worlds are shadowless. This is what attracts Meito to Shimon. She has bright pink hair, but also, a shadow.
Meito contributes to institutionalized sexism.
Knowing his curiosity defies his world’s code of conduct, Meito doesn’t approach Shimon directly. He stalks her. This is how he is able to witness her opening a magic portal. About the same time Shimon notices she is being watched, Meito hears a voice in his head. With this, Shimon agrees to take Meito through the portal and back to her world. If that last bit of the summary felt rushed, then I perfectly replicated how this bit of the story was delivered in MYTH.
Upon entering the portal, Meito is greeted to a world filled with beings who have no bodies and are only shadows. Two other characters, Riri and Sou, join the party. They have no memories of their past and just sort of “appear” in the shadow world. They all decide to ignore their own personal problems and devote their efforts to understanding the voices in Meito’s head. As I was reading this and losing track of the plot while questioning the characters’ motivations and random personality shifts, I, the reader, was thrust into an alternate world within the game. MYTH was like, “You getting all of this? No? Excellent. Have some of this now.”
From this point, it just gets a whole lot weirder. The odd character behaviors, the childishly written and nonsensical story arcs, and the overall inconsistencies — everything is explained, and it all leads to a much larger story. Once you realize what’s truly going on, MYTH becomes a completely different monster. To be fair, it’s a rather ingenious idea. The only problem is in the execution.
Did this really happen in the game, or did I make another fake screenshot?
Movies like The Matrix, Shutter Island, or Inception deal with high-level concepts. They constantly make you question the reality and logic of their respective worlds. The writers of those stories are careful to craft a narrative that intrigues the viewer yet concludes in a reasonable manner of time. Stressing your audience’s brain for an extended period of time will cause fatigue, and this is one of the main problems with MYTH. It’s just way too long.
MYTH took roughly 30 hours to finish. The first 15 hours were spent driving the plot forward by introducing more and more elements. The last 15 hours, aptly named “Answer”, were a hasty attempt to wrap up every last loose end from the story (yes, 15 hours of hasty explanations.) You are put in the perspective of almost every of the story’s characters as you experience things through their eyes. It’s nice that the author wanted to explain things, but there’s nothing wrong with leaving things up to the readers’ interpretation.
No more… Please, no more!
Over-explaining is also one of MYTH’s biggest problems. Spending about half of the time explaining its own story illustrates a lack of confidence in either the story or the readers. One episode is dedicated entirely to the backstory of two characters and their world. It lasted 6+ hours, was dreadfully boring, and served almost no purpose in the grand scheme of things. I couldn’t help but think about how it could have been a VN by itself, and wouldn’t you know it? The Lewd Guru himself, LewdLogic , informed me that I was correct. Aguni ~Unmei no Saki~ is a prequel to MYTH, which the developers felt the need to add it into the game, nearly in its entirety.
Different world, different UI
Most of MYTH is spent simultaneously bouncing between two worlds and two stories. The stories begin independently but eventually cross over. This is a nice trick, but it can take several hours for plot A to merge with plot B. I can’t help but feel that presenting each world as its own episode would have flowed a bit better while maintaining that same intersecting plot effect.
To its credit, MYTH has a unique way of doing, well, everything. From the manner in which you’re thrust from one world to the next, to the way new episodes unlock, it’s all quite an experience. I especially like how each world is presented with a completely unique UI interface.
After I completed the first episode in MYTH. I was taken back to the main title screen, and all I could think was that the game was over but I got the bad ending. Then I noticed something — a new menu option appeared. The chapter after that was the same. Soon I reached a dead end. No new chapters opened up, but I was clearly missing CGs from the gallery. Upon revisiting some past choices, I was able to unlock even more chapters. MYTH seemingly had no end. The main menu morphed from an innocent selection screen into a mysterious puzzle box.
Welcome to MYTH.
As cool as it was, it also made me impatient, since I couldn’t tell how much of the story I had left. In a typical story, you can gauge the length that stands before you, but not so much in MYTH. You see, MYTH had a bad habit of answering all your questions but then proceeding to flood you with more information. If my brain was a sponge, MYTH was a faucet left running well past the saturation point. During said data dumps, more questions would arise, and the story would just keep going.
In the end, I’d have to say that MYTH is very impressive. The whole experience is a mind fuck. Its biggest drawback is definitely the length of the whole adventure. Not many people can tolerate something this surreal for an extended period of time. I’d recommend you read it over the course of about a month because there is a LOT to take in. If you just enjoy the ride, rather than impatiently anticipate the destination, you’ll find a very exciting journey awaiting you. Additionally, the soundtrack is pretty great as well, though it can grow repetitive after about 30 hours of constant playtime. There are also long stints of pure silence with a blank screen.
If you’re interested in something truly different, you can give yourself the gift of MYTH from MangaGamer for $14.95.