Designing a game that's a genuinely fun and thrilling experience from start to finish is much tougher than it looks, because when a game clocks in at 10, 20, or even 30-plus hours, there's a lot of room for players to start losing interest.
And while developers will typically kick their game off with an exciting set-piece to catch the player's attention, it's fair to say that a lot of games fall down hard in the climax.
Though last impressions count for a lot, it's often the end of a game that suffers the most during a fraught development period, as the team struggles to polish those elements satisfactorily.
And so, we come to these 10 games, all of which were roundly lauded by critics and players alike - until, that is, they ran out of steam during the back-end.
These games all fumbled the ball during the closing stretch, whether failing to pay off their story satisfyingly, rustling up an underwhelming final level, or bombarding players with an exhausting number of end-bosses.
Save for all but the most die-hard fans, these games fell off a cliff at the critical juncture...
10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
For its majority, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves marked a significant step up in terms of both cinematic production values and gameplay quality compared to its more uneven predecessor.
But you won't find many who harbour much love for the game's final third, at which point the gunplay - already by far the worst aspect of the entire series - becomes a seriously demoralising chore.
The monotonous abundance of gunfights are less fun than a genuine task to force yourself through, while more dynamic, cinematic set-pieces end up taking a backseat.
And once you reach the game's last area, the fabled land of Shambhala, you have to contend with the deeply obnoxious final boss battle against antagonistic bullet sponge Lazarević.
The confined environment and general cheapness of Lazarević's attacks ensured this was a horribly cheap and irritating way to close things out.
The player pushback was vocal enough, though, that Naughty Dog ensured all subsequent games had considerably better thought-out finales.