Saints Row IV is finally here, putting the Saints back on the streets of Steelport as they attempt to scale back an alien invasion that's taken over their fair city. To do so, they're going to need guns – lots of guns. Oh, and some melee weapons wouldn't hurt either.

Fortunately, there are plenty to come by in Saints Row IV, and we've got a weapons guide that breaks down the best of the best. Let's go kick some alien butt.

Melee Weapons

The general weapons you'll find first in the game are great for close-range attacks, namely the baseball bat and the stun gun. However, as you progress further into the game, you'll get your hands on some really cool stuff. The dildo bat once again makes a return, allowing you to swat away at enemies with a prolonged sex toy. Also here is the energy sword, a variation of the lightsaber that can easily cut down anyone who doesn't understand Jedi logic. The tentacle bat also makes its debut here, and is about as grossly humorous as you might expect, as it makes a nice "thwack" noise when you hit people with it. A rectifier will also be joining the pack soon as downloadable content, and should be, um, interesting when it arrives.

Best melee weapon: the energy sword. C'mon, we're Star Wars fans.

Pistols

Most of the pistols are moderately good for shooting enemies at a range, but only carry a certain amount of ammunition, compared to most assault rifles and other high-powered weapons. You'll start with the Heavy Pistol, which can pack a punch, and eventually work your way up to the Quickshot Pistol and the all-effective Alien Pistol, a cool Halo-style weapon that lets loose with blasting power. If you have to go with a pistol in the game, try and make it this one.

Best pistol: the alien pistol. Keep it handy for close encounters.

SMG's

Like the pistols, SMG's come in three different offerings – you've got your basic Heavy SMG, which you can customize using such skins as the SWAT and the Rubber Band Gun – giving it a pinkish sheen in the process – and you can soon upgrade to a Rapid-Fire SMG, with a Nailgun or Cyborg Pistol design, or the Alien SMG, which can be converted into an all-out Xenoblaster. While it doesn't pack as much pop as the bigger assault rifles, it's useful for clearing out enemies.

Best SMG: Alien SMG. The name "Xenoblaster" just sticks with us. 

Shotgun Class

With the shotgun, you're able to fire off short but very powerful bursts that can shred an enemy anywhere within your close range. The pump-action is a pure classic, one that can carry a few shells at a time. Though you must reload often, it's useful. As you proceed, you'll pack more ammunition with the Semi-Auto Shotgun, and gain access to two higher-tier weapons.

The Thumpgun serves up all the carnage of a brutal foot stomp in one blast, meaning you can turn an enemy into a bloody Sloppy Joe in one clean shot. However, if you prefer them to suffer first, you can always use the Inflato-Ray. Shoot someone with this and they'll blow up like a balloon, only to explode in a pile of red goo. It does the trick.

Best Shotgun: We like the Thumpgun, but you can't go wrong with the Inflato-Ray.

Rifle Class

Let's get the obvious favorite out of the way first – the Dubstep Gun. Though it fires in prolonged bursts, the range is somewhat limited compared to wider weapons. However, the effect it delivers is outstanding, forcing enemies and objects to dance around before they eventually collapse, all while Dubstep plays from your weapon. Nothing beats going out to some Skrillex-style music.

Next up is the Alien Rifle, also known as the Dominator. It fires off high-caliber blasts that can level an enemy in one to two shots, depending where you hit them. If you prefer the "one shot, one kill" mantra, go for the Disintegrator, which can clean up most foes with a well-placed blast. Last but certainly not least, the Bounce Rifle is excellent when it comes to clearing out groups, as your shots bounce off them – and walls – and hit everything else that's within range. We like using these for defensive purposes, like with a sudden ambush or simply clearing out an alien checkpoint.

Best Rifle: C'mon, the Dubstep Gun. All the way.

Explosives

To get through the bigger enemies in Saints Row IV, you're going to need more than your trusty super powers. That's why it's great to have a few explosives on hand. The alien RPG, also known as the Tyrant, is perfect if you want to take out enemies in one shot, with plenty of boom behind it. Men In Black fans will also recognize the Tiny Pistol, or Loud Locust, which works in a similar way to the Noisy Cricket – it's small, but packs a magnificent punch. The typical RPG is also good if you want to fire off rockets in a hurry, which comes in handy early on in the game.

However, if we had to pick just one, it's all about the Black Hole Launcher. This was a highlight when we first saw the game earlier this year, capable of sucking up enemies and vehicles within a small radius, then shredding them with an explosion. If you can, try to hunt down the challenges featuring this fun little toy. You won't be sorry.

Best Explosives Gun: Black Hole Launcher. Go and get one.

Special Weapons

Finally, you'll find some nice special weapons scattered throughout Steelport. The sniper rifle is a good tool for protecting your "homies" from a distance, or picking off alien scum without alerting them to your presence.

If you prefer something better, you can try the Lasergun and Minethrower Arms. These attach to your body and let loose with destructive power, whether you're firing blasts or shooting explosive mines at foes.

Last but not least, there's the Abduct-O-Matic, which turns the tables on the aliens' kidnapping process and shoots them up into the sky. For the record, the weapon listing says it "also works on cows.”

Best Special Weapon: We're going with the Lasergun Arm. It keeps your hand free and still dishes out destruction!

 

Saints Row IV is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.