The first person free running is absolutely perfect -- I have to second your sentiments on that exactly. The way they set it up, you really feel like you're the one in the game -- as much as a video game can accomplish that, anyway.
The combat really is one of the truly lacking points in the game, which is why I suppose it's fortunate that I've played the game through so many times that I can get through most areas fast enough to fight very few or no enemies, haha. Beating the game on Hard was a huge pain, though. I spent forever on the last segment of The Shard.
The whiteness is overwhelming to an extent, but I honestly love the art style of the game so much. It's beautiful and striking on one hand, and on the other, it emphasizes how controlled and conformist the city is.
But yeah, even though I know what I'm doing to the point where I barely have to think about it, I still find the game incredibly cathartic to play through. It's a one-of-a-kind gameplay experience.