I am finally finished (kind of, there's still a couple more things I should do) with Final Fantasy XV, and I must say that I absolutely loved the game. It deviates pretty far from the old Final Fantasy formula, but honestly I couldn't have cared less. All I cared about was that it was a really good game. One factor to why I liked the game so much was its fun combat system that includes many different weapon types available. This list will only be ranking the weapons while equipped on Noctis, as a ranking of the characters will be coming separately. Now we will get into the ranking.
#9 - Shields
I never once found myself purposely equipping Noctis with a shield. As much as it is cool to beat daemons up with a massive shield, it just really isn't that good. If you want to negate damage, just dodge attacks. Blocking attacks with a shield does use less MP than phasing, but I cannot remember the last time I ran out of MP apart from after using Alterna or Warp-Striking a billion times. I was never unable to dodge an attack because of low MP. And if you want to deal damage, equip a weapon. The strongest shield you can get prior to beating the game has an Attack Power of 176, while you can get a sword with 364 in Chapter 3. And if you want to Break and stagger enemies, equip a greatsword. I honestly cannot find any real reason to consistently use a shield in this game. If only blocking with Noctis increased your attack like it does with Gladio. Then I would likely put shields much higher. But as it is, why would you need a shield when you can literally teleport?
#8 - Machinery
As with the Shields, I really want to like the Machinery in this game. However, they are so slow to use! There are also only seven unique weapons in this type (excluding upgraded versions), and their overall damage output leaves much to be desired. However, there are some useful properties for these weapons. The Noiseblaster allows Noctis to attack groups of enemies from a long range, which can be helpful if you are running low on HP or healing items. But 98% of the time you're better off leaving your best machinery with Prompto and choosing a different weapon.
#7 - Firearms
We had Gunblades in FFVIII and FFXIII, but now we have just GUNS. Oh yeah! Firearms allow you to attack from a longer range (although, due to the relatively small area of battle, you still can't attack from that far of a distance). However, like in FPS games, these weapons do have damage falloff, meaning they do less damage from a further range. The damage on firearms is much better than that of shields, but they are also quite slow to use. While not bad per se, like the previous weapon types, the damage and practicality are simply less than that of the other options. Also, if you want to use guns, switch to Prompto. Then it gets epic. When compared to Prompto, Noctis is still playing with Nerf Guns.
#6 - Polearms
We now have the first melee weapon type on this list, and it's gotta be the Polearms. These are the first weapons that allow you to link-strike, which is a big plus compared to the other kinds of weapons. I found myself using the Drain Lance III quite a bit in the early stages of the game, but after better melee weapons become available, the spears just seem to lag behind. While they are able to be used more effectively whilst in midair, I just don't really see a reason to ever need to attack better in midair. There are few enemies that fly higher than your party can reach from the ground, and if you encounter one, it is much easier to simply Warp-Strike until it comes down or, as I mentioned before, just switch to Prompto. I like spears in games, but they always seem to fall short of their more popular rival, the sword. Also, why the heck isn't there a spear from the FFXIV crossover event?!?
#5 - Royal Arms
Please don't kill me for this one, but I find the Royal Arms to not be that useful. Keep in mind that this does not include the Armiger, only when using them individually as weapons. Some of these weapons are very fun to use and very awesome, but there is one glaring problem. Every time Noctis attacks with one of his Royal Arms, he loses HP. And he doesn't lose like 10 HP. Every single attack can drain hundreds of HP! Maybe if they did massive amounts of damage they would be great, but they aren't even that much stronger than regular weapons! One good thing about these weapons are the stat boosts. They also have the good bonus of ignoring resistances to physical attacks, which can be good against Iron or Red Giants, but I never found those too difficult and I didn't feel like it was worth murdering my HP. I bet you'll never guess how I took down those enemies. You've got your guess ready? I switched to Prompto. While the Armiger (especially Armiger Unleashed) is very strong, especially against bosses, the Royal Arms when used alone are brought down to mediocre due to their negative effects.
#4 - Arcana
Arcana is not really a weapon type, as there is only one item in this category, being the Ring of the Lucii, but I still found it suitable to add onto the list. The Ring is obtained as a part of the story, and is basically a Gameshark code. There are three spells available for use: Death, Holy, and Alterna. Death deals constant damage to an enemy before instantly killing them and restoring half of Noctis's HP. Think about it. Is that broken? I'd say so. It works well on most enemies, but against stronger daemons the instant death effect will not work. Holy is a lot less powerful, but is a useful boost of extra damage when dodging attacks. And then we have Alterna. This spell expends all of your MP, but in exchange, instantly kills every enemy in the battle. Although it misses pretty often against stronger enemies, very few are completely immune. If you try hard enough, you can even kill the Adamantoise with this spell. The only reason this isn't in first place is because you get it in Chapter 13, the second to last in the game.
#3 - Daggers
Now we are getting to the three weapon types I almost always had equipped. Although they can't activate Link Strikes, the daggers can obliterate single targets, especially while they are in a vulnerable state. The damage is high and the attacks are very speedy. While not as interesting as many of the other weapons on the list, I often had daggers equipped on Noctis, as the Assassin's Daggers can be acquired very early and deal great damage, along with inflicting Poison. Even in the endgame the daggers still hold up. The Zwill Crossblades, obtained from Randolph's quests, can be considered the best weapon in the game, as they do extra damage when on high HP, similar to the Ultima Weapon from FFVI. While they aren't the strongest, daggers are versatile and a great choice to occupy one of your four weapon slots.
#2 - Greatswords
Everyone loves giant swords. In terms of sheer attack power, greatswords are by far the strongest weapon type in the game. Greatswords can Link Strike and stagger enemies better than any other weapon can. If you're going straight at a faster enemy like a Sabertusk, you will likely get hit while trying to attack, but against larger enemies they are super effective. Many enemies are weak to greatswords, so having one of these at your disposal is always a good idea. When used in the right situations, there are no downsides to greatswords, but they don't have the versatility of the number one weapon type.
#1 - Swords
I wasn't surprised when I chose Swords as the best weapon type in the game. They generally have the second highest Attack power, second only to the Greatswords, but they are so much faster and easy to use. Most enemies in the game can be taken down by just using a sword, and the availability of strong swords is by far the best out of any weapon type. You can upgrade the Engine Blade to eventually reach the Ultima Blade, which has a whopping 364 Attack and can basically get you through the entire story single-handedly. Link Strikes are available, as well as great Warp Strikes. Heck, swords have basically everything going for them. It does make sense as they are the only weapon type (apart from the Royal Arms and Ring of the Lucii) that is exclusive to Noctis, but that doesn't change the fact that they are the strongest because of their versatility and sheer attack power.