What’s the best weapon in ZMR? The answer really depends on what kind of enemies you’re expecting, and how you like to fight.
Let’s start with the obvious: knives, clubs, swords—the weapons that got mankind through millennia of conflict. The clear drawback, of course, is lack of range, but on the other hand, you never run out of ammo with a melee weapon. Melee weapons are also generally quieter, and have special “execution maneuvers” that firearms don’t have.
The lack of range makes them a bad choice against the Dominion (your foes in Assault, Massive Assault, and Assault Ops modes), since almost all of them use firearms—but as long as you don’t let yourself get boxed in, melee weapons are ideal for bashing zombies (in Kill Every Thing, Kill Every Thing 2, and Paranormal Ops modes). Just remember: There are no mod options for melee weapons.
ZMR‘s various pistols are excellent backup weapons, but not quite suited for use as your go-to weapon. Like all firearms, handguns can be modded to one degree or another, and a pistol with a red-dot sight makes a decent substitute for a sniper rifle—provided your target isn’t very far away. They’re limited by small magazines (meaning frequent reloading) and generally low damage, but if you can pull off a headshot reliably, that might not be as big a concern for you.
The important thing to remember about handguns is that they occupy the side arm slot in your loadout, meaning that you can’t equip both a pistol and a knife, for example. So it comes down to a question of your personal preferences: Is the range worth the reloading?
If you want good range, accuracy, and a high rate of fire, you want an assault rifle. There’s a reason they’re the default firearm for military forces in this dimension and the next. As with SMGs, you’ll chew through ammo, so if reloading is a concern, skip the SCAR-L and go for something with burst-fire, like a FAMAS. In fact, if you want to use a scope on your assault rifle, you probably want a burst-fire weapon, since muzzle climb will render the scope pretty useless for sustained fire applications.
If pulling off headshots is your concern, choose one with burst-fire and mod your assault rifle with a reflex scope (with the built-in red-dot sight). But if you want to keep your enemies at a distance—as will frequently be the case with zombie hordes—go for full auto and a laser sight. Note that you can equip either kind in your primary and secondary weapon slots, so you can have the best of both worlds.
Machine guns were originally designed to be more or less stationary, and so served more as defensive weapons. The advent of light machine guns (the kind that can be carried and operated by just one person) made them much more versatile, but they still perform much better when you don’t have to move very quickly—and better still when you can set up shop at a choke point and mow down anything that tries to come through without an invitation.
As with any weapon with a high rate of fire, accuracy can be a problem, so don’t expect to pull off a lot of headshots; instead, concentrate on filling a specific area with lead. But be warned: The reload rate is painfully slow, so always have a backup weapon—or a buddy—on standby.
Like pistols, shotguns are great for short-range engagements, but their lack of accuracy makes them fairly useless when the enemy is more than a few yards away. If your enemies aren’t shooting back—like the average zombie—that’s usually not a problem. And even some Dominion forces like to get right up in your face, so a shotgun is an effective deterrent to that kind of antisocial behavior.
Shotguns have great damage, but tend to be limited in terms of how many different kinds of mods you can attach. Fortunately, the ones you can get are usually the critical ones: barrel mods for range; stock mods for accuracy; and mag mods are practically a necessity for a weapon with such a small ammo capacity, especially combined with their slower-than-average reload speed.
The ideal weapon for headshots across a nice, open battlefield, sniper rifles combine power, range, and accuracy into a great killing combination—but their small magazines, ponderous rate of fire, and glacially slow reload times mean you’d better have lots and lots of cover. Your best course of action with a sniper rifle is to grab cover and wait for your enemy to linger a little too long in the open. Then shoot, duck, reload, and go back to waiting.
Just keep in mind that your opponents will quickly figure out where you are, so don’t rely on just a sniper rifle alone to get you through a battle.
If you’re not carrying a grenade into combat, you’re not really prepared for battle. Each type of grenade has a different, specific combat application, so be sure to pick the one that suits you best:
- Frag: The default for when you want to injure several opponents at once—or force them out of cover.
- Incendiary: Like frags, fire grenades do damage, but unlike frags, they fill an area with flames for several seconds after detonation. Use them to punish enemies for coming through your choke points.
- Corpse-Caller: As the name implies, corpse-callers are really only effective against zombies. Drop one when you’re getting swarmed, then clear out. Most of the dead will leave you alone to cluster around it, just in time for the big payoff at the end.
- Claymore: These “grenades” take some planning to use properly. Just remember: Don’t point it at the spot where your enemy is, point it at the spot where your enemy will be in a couple of seconds.
- Smoke: Smokers are vastly underutilized in combat, but when you’re pinned down, they can make a tremendous difference. Drop one where you want to go, wait until your enemy finishes firing at the smoke in hopes of hitting you blind, then run through and get some more cover somewhere else.
- Flash: Flash grenades ensure that your enemies are unprepared for your arrival. Like smoke grenades, they don’t bother zombies much, but living opponents will be disoriented (and unable to target you) for a few seconds.
Having a turret at your disposal is like having another soldier on the field, and they work equally effectively against zombies, Dominion, and anyone else you care to kill. While they last, they’ll attack anything that comes into range with gouts of flame, grenades, or just a good old-fashioned hail of bullets. They’re great at bogging down choke points, and they can watch your back while you snipe.
You’ll may never have a chance to buy a chain gun, flamethrower, or even a rocket launcher. But you’ll certainly get to pick them up off the field—although you won’t get to keep them afterward. But they definitely have their uses, as you’ll no doubt see when Dominion heavies come calling.
If you should pick one up, don’t make the mistake of feeling that you’re temporarily invincible. Yes, those heavy weapons dish out a lot of damage, but they have abominably slow reload speeds (if they can be reloaded at all) and your movement speed will usually drop to a snail’s pace. Just use it long enough to take down a few enemies, then drop it and bail. Best case scenario, it’ll still be there later, and you can use it again.
Special: Assault and ZK Weapons
The weapons above will eventually see you through any fight, but sometimes you need a little more oomph to take down your opponents that much faster. When battling the Dominion (in Assault, Massive Assault, and Assault Ops modes), you want weapons named “assault”; when fighting zombies (Kill Every Thing, Kill Every Thing 2, and Paranormal Ops modes), you want Zombie-Killer (“ZK”) weapons. Both types are particularly useful in Threshold Defense mode, when used against the corresponding enemy. Using the appropriate weapon for the mode inflicts dramatically greater damage against every enemy you encounter in the listed modes, including heavies and bosses.
There are Assault and ZK versions of a variety of handguns, SMGs, assault rifles, sniper rifles, machine guns, shotguns, and the occasional “special” weapon, like crossbows. Both types can be obtained through the shooting galleries and from loot cases.