Seeing as the somewhat inferior PC Gamer has a somewhat superior node, i've decided to even things up. PC ZONE, as it is officially capitalised, is one of the two most popular PC games magazines in the UK. Despite having a lower total circulation, it has a higher subscription rate, suggesting it is good. They celebrated their 10th birthday in April 2003.
The current PC ZONE staff, as well as a bunch of no-good freelancers, consists of...
Rhianna Pratchett (indeed, daughter of Terry Pratchett)
(not a games reviewer, but writes a great Dear Wandy hardware problems page)
Previous staff have included the cartoonist Charlie Brooker, responsible for the Cruelty Zoo cartoon that got the mag pulled from the shelves once, FPS UberFragMeister Macca (David McCandless), and reviewer-cum-porn photographer (no pun intended) Mallo (Paul Mallinson).
Monthly features include the First Look preview section, the Bulletin news section, the full-blown Previews part (which in the June 2003 issue played host to the exclusive UK preview of Half-Life 2), the ever-accurate Reviews, an informative Hardware section with Dear Wandy and Watchdog letters pages, an online-oriented Extended Play section, and finally the End Zone with the Mailbox, the A-List of top games, the Retro Zone and a final page of usually random humour (currently hosting a revival of Mr Cursor).
Unlike the slightly bizarre at times PC Gamer, PCZ is funny, but keeps the reviews objective. Its percentage scoring system is more trustworthy than the other magazines on the market, as it's based on the rather obvious assumption that 50% is an average game While PC Gamer might give out 90%s left, right and centre, PCZ reserves them for the very best. For example, in the June 2003 issue, only one game out of nine scraped a 90% (Rise of Nations). One weakness with PCZ, however, is a tendancy to get very excited over upcoming games, only to give the final game an average mark (recently Devastation, Viet Cong, and Unreal II (thanks to Kage_Prototype for reminding me) to name a few. To be fair though, at least they don't write them off until they're seen the final game, and they're obviously not afraid to go back on what they've said.
I've read PC ZONE on and off since June 1998 (the Force Commander issue, just before the magazine changed to its current stencil font) and would say the quality has remained at a constant high level, although they still get letters about their praising of the awful SiN.