I disagree. When I used to read printed PC magazines 10-15 years ago they had real reviews and articles.
I think what changed things is the internet. In those days by the time they were published game reviews were at least a month old and hard copy sales were a significant portion of the magazine's revenue. Game patches were mostly distributed on cover disks so any bugs & issues were there for a while at least. Most importantly, negative reviews & complaints were isolated so even bad games had a fair window to sell in.
These days people want patches instantly and negative reviews & complaints show up on searches. To counter this the games companies have done their best to control & manipulate information to ensure a window where a game will sell (however bad it is). On top of flooding every possible avenue with advertising they bribe, coerce and do whatever they can to ensure any negative information is lost in the noise. Most online journalists are just easy to manipulate because they rely on the games companies for early access & advertising.
Have to agree with this. All those magazines I used to read in the mid to late 90s are all gone, and it's online. Articles are maybe a couple of paragraphs and 30% screenshots now. Way more in line with bloggers.