Even when a video game brings you tens or even hundreds of hours of joy, it can all be undone in an instant with an ending that doesn't live up to everything you've invested. Looking at you, Mass Effect 3.
A great ending can elevate a terrific game to pure classic status, all the more so if it dares to take things to unexpectedly jolting, even emotionally confrontational places.
That's certainly true of these 10 games, all of which dared to push the boundaries of what video game endings could be, in turn ensuring few would ever forget how they wrapped up.
From startling twist endings to stamina-draining final battles, devastating last stands, and everything else in-between, these endings left players feeling at once exhilarated and in desperate need of a blanket and warm cup of cocoa.
These endings quite literally took players' breath away with their intensity, their brutality, and their creativity, in turn lodging themselves deep in gamers' minds forever more.
No discussion of the greatest and most unexpected video game endings of all time can be complete without these games, which were elevated to new heights through their masterfully executed finales...
10. Dead Space
Dead Space is one of the most blisteringly intense survival horror games of all time, offering up a finale which reveals that protagonist Isaac's girlfriend Nicole has been dead the entire time, just before you're forced to face off against the game's grotesque final boss, the colossal beast known as the Hive Mind.
But even once you fell the monster at the end of a frantic boss battle, the game tees up one final sting in the dramatic tail for good measure.
After Isaac makes his hasty escape, he listens to one of Nicole's final video messages before suddenly being attacked by a hallucination of her.
Though jump scares have a tendency to be cheap and lazy, this perfectly-placed jolt brought Dead Space to a fittingly enervating conclusion, ensuring players who let their guard down - that is, everyone - were left thoroughly terrified.