Great post Murph, brought back a lot of memories :)
All the subweapons were garbage lol.
Most weren't that great for Raiden, but they were excellent for Sam since his Taunt made them extremely good. EMP's were very powerful though.
Polearm is prolly objectively best overall no?
I don't think one can objectively be best because they all serve different purposes.
Really depends what you were going for. If you just wanted that S-rank or beat a mission, honestly, the Pincers were too powerful. Even on Revengeance Difficulty a Ripper Pincer just melts bosses. The Sai was great for certain fights. PoleArm was a novelty weapon, absolutely useless (imo) on regular runs but a joy on handicap runs since it infinites nearly every regular enemy while also being able to stunlock groups. Not that great against bosses though outside of its one loop on Sundowner and here I go again rambling about this game hahaha, sorry man, just can't help myself when it comes to this title :P
In terms of meta and what's overpowered, nothing beats Armor Breaker with Ripper Mode against regular foes as you can just play mindless and still no-damage every fight that way. For bosses Murasama+Sai/Pincer with Ripper to melt things.
Personally, I always prefered single weapon runs most. Just the regular blade. Damage was a bit lower but you gained a lot of mobility in return and some good loops too. But that's more for the added challenge.
http://www.stingermagazine.com - articles on the action genre's best. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC09UqeY80WzoWMnxRkL4Tkw - challenge runs.