Played this a little today and was going to make some notes but the weapons are too similar to each other. Their attack ranges are the only real differences, which depending on the enemy, the knowledge of what you're picking up would be useful, but right now I don't feel it warrants such an in-depth guide.
They basically fall into a few categories. Here's a few examples.
Single handed (cutlass, candle, frying pan)
Double handed (cue stick, broom, chair)
Throwing - ammo based (bottles, hamburgers, some other thing I forgot)
Throwing - single use (barrels, potted plants, boxes)
Shooting - meter cooldown type (fire extinguisher, garlic gun, water gun)
There's way more per category but they function pretty much the same. Reminds me a little of the weapon types in Dead Rising, but that had tons more variation and unique stuff.
The ammo based throwing types are piles of an item you pick up and get a set amount of uses. They cause a small hit-stun. Single use are just pick up and throw, but can smash through multiple enemies.
The shooting types have a meter that fills with continuous use. When it reaches red, you can't shoot anymore and need to wait a few seconds, but the weapons are essentially infinite.
The fire extinguisher and water gun fire in streams, where the garlic and soda can gun are single shots.
You only get these during forced segments though, which makes sense I guess because everything in this game breaks and having an unlimited weapon would seriously break the game. Usually you face enemies that can only be killed with these types of weapon, like the fire imp I mentioned. They won't take damage from anything else.
The chickens only die from the garlic gun, though I encountered a few in a room with a furnace and was able to knock them into that. Zombies take more damage from the water gun, but it does nothing to other enemies. The soda gun works on a variety of monsters that showed up in its segment.
Regarding weapon durability; it's based on number of uses. Everything has a number assigned to it.
As they wear down they actually change appearance showing the damage from impacts. I haven't been paying too much attention, but this most likely affects range too. Like I picked up a small ladder, and the first hit nearly halved the length.
I might do a write up on the enemies just for fun. Some are reasonably interesting, and I'm starting to see enemies I can't hurt like mummies interspersed among others. Most are pretty easy by themselves or in groups of the same type, but now I'm seeing mixes of many types and each of their unique abilities become more apparent.
The room by room challenges are getting more difficult too. Like one was that I couldn't break anything which is harder than it sounds because near EVERYTHING is breakable. I kicked this imp and it went flying into some chest and broke it, which summoned Death. It was a real pain because I'm trying to find as many hidden books as possible, and the one in this room was hidden in something breakable. There were also 3 medusas wandering around, and imps and spiders kept jumping out. Found it after a few deaths, which thankfully have no consequence other than repeating the room. Once I figured out where the book was, I died, then ran straight to this box and smashed it. Death appeared but I ran to the exit.
Another had a hallway, and a larger space at the end with the door. To one side was a huge group of mummies fighting each other, and on the other were some throwable barrels. The baron took my life to 1 for this room, and the mummies were completely blocking the door. What I had to do was throw a barrel to trigger a chain knockdown and slip through before they got up.
Regarding attacking enemies with Cooper's fists/feet, one thing annoys me. After you do that flurry finishing with a knockback that I mentioned way back, you can attack enemies on the ground. The problem I have is how you can only do these heavy knockback attacks, sending the enemy flying unless they're near a wall. You can keep doing this until you let them get up. I'd rather do the flurry of attacks because they add up to slightly more damage, or at least make the attacks not so automatic. The heavy attacks are slower, so they're not a great idea when there are multiple enemies around. I'll usually back off if there's a group and the knocked down enemy gets up anyway. Though you can hit more than one enemy with the knockback attack, the randomness of the animations makes me not want to risk it.
About the challenge mode that the books unlock.
These are unlocked as you find them, and you can access from the main menu any time. So far I have around 20 challenges, though I haven't looked through them yet. They have bronze, silver, and gold awards, but you are free to go for records beyond gold.
I had a go at the first 2 which were basic like killing a certain amount of skeletons, or avoiding imps without getting hit as long as you can. I don't doubt that there will be many that are absolutely bonkers, if the main game is anything to go by.