The fact that Fallout NV has more player choices and freedom inside the story to influence the world around is you just.... i dont know.... horrible. I mean how can a game from 2010 do the story and RPG part way better? To me this entire Cyberpunk drama in one sentence is this: "WTF HAPPEND???"
Remember, Fallout New Vegas was developed in its entireity 18 months
I wanted to do the Panam one because as you said it's clearly the better one especially since she has a link to the main story.... But apparently the developpers decided that if players choosed to play a women they couldn't be happy. At first i had the same mindset as you. I enjoyed the story but then everything fell apart because of this romance issue that affected my ending and now i'm just too dissapointed to even continue to play.
For me when it all fell apart was immediatly after Act 1, the Diner scene with Takemura was when it hit me.