Newest Review: ... which tend to be more (but certainly not exclusively) aimed at causal gamers- but PC Zone would do well to lighten up and generate some... more
In The Zone
Member Name: Chris_Moyles
Date: 04/06/01, updated on 04/06/01 (108 review reads)
Advantages: good layout, lots of information, good price in comparison
Disadvantages: hmm, none
PC Zone been going for over 100 issues now so its well established. It costs £3.50 which is quite good compared to most other PC magazines out there. It is nicely laid out with glossy covers and pages.
There editorial is always interesting and the team writing the magazine are given an introduction with pictures and different witty quotes every issue.
The mailbox is the usual format, nothing really special but the letters are always interesting and there is quite a good prize for the letter of the month.
The bulletin section is very indepth with very good looks at new games. Pictures are especially good and large. There is all the latest game news and information as well as a section on games related hardware (joysticks, graphic cards etc). There is a quite interesting charts sections, certainly more detailed than other magazines, with a chart comment, peoples opinions on the charts and retro charts which will bring back memories.
Previews are also very well done, yet again with neat large pictures to capture the atmosphere of the game. There are little boxes giving more detail about important bits as well as a cv on the game designers to see what other things they have done before and a Q&A with one of the people behind it.
Reviews section is the most important and in PC Zone is done much better than any other magazine because of its strict policy. Only games that are true classics ae given over 90% but you know a game is still very good if it gets into the eighties. There is an "In Perspective" section which compares the game's mark to others in the genre to see how it compares. Like the previews there is the usual box sections and lots of pictures.
Another great feature that isnt found in other magazines is the supertest. Each month the team get together and have a frank discussion to decide whichis the top game in whatever genre they have chosen. This can be very useful as it gives a more person
al look at the games. There is also a feedback section where readers are encouraged to write in and comment an criticise the reviews.
The cheats section is also very good as there are some very useful walkthroughs. However, because they are quite in-depth they tend to cover more than one issue and some gamers may not find it useful having to wait a month to find out what they can do next. To go with this there is a tech help section for any hardware and software problems and a watchdog section where you can have your connsumer issues resolved.
The Top 100 is another useful feature that is much improved on other magazines efforts. It is split into genres with top ten games put in order of the review marks. These marks are altered to reflect the changing times so that this section gives a very useful reflection on what are the best games around at the moment.
This is like a mini magazine of its own, concentrating on online games only. It has the same news, previews and reviews section as the main mag.
A recently new section is the large online part which reflects how important online gaming is becoming. There is online orientated news, previews and information as well reviews of mods and maps which are also generally included on the CDs.
The CDs are the usual affair with the latest demos, mods, films, patches and add-ons. The main use seems to be for those who have trouble downloading mods and maps for games like Half-Life as there tends to be a lot of these on the CDs.
Alongside PC Gamer this is certainly the best PC gaming magazine around. It has good style and good layout with lots of depth. These two magazines are really the only ones you should suggest checking out. I often struggle to decide between them but maybe that cheaper price could swing it for some of you.