also, in fights with groups of thugs, you don't have to take them all at once (or in groups of twos or threes). you can take them on one at a time, and beat them one thug at a time.
the beauty of FreeFlow-Combat is, like Sefton Hill said in an interview (i don't recall if it was E3 or Gamespot or IGN or some other interview, but i've seen it on YouTube several times), 'you can choose how you want to take care of the bad-guys. you can choose how you want to defeat the bad-guys'. also, it's much better than "turn-based" combat like in Pokemon, the Nintendo-64 game "Quest 64", and other games that have turn-based combat in them.
likewise, doesn't anyone ever recall the Super-Nintendo game "TMNT: Turtles in Time" or the Sega-Genesis game "TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist"? the FreeFlow-Combat system is very similar to the combat[-system] in those games, except that you don't have to button-mash :-P (thereby saving you from having exhausted thumbs)