Yes, they are as good as I remember.
Perhaps the reason for the quality split in the episodes is that they weren't written together; IIRC the first part was written just as TNG was taking off with huge success and when they took a break between seasons the writers/producers weren't even considering what to do for part 2 until the fourth season began. So they might have painted themselves into a corner in terms of writing their way out. I agree the conclusion could have been a bit more exciting than putting them to sleep.
I remember reading that BOBW was a two-parter because Patrick Stewart had yet to sign on for season four, and TPTB wanted a way to write him out in case he walked away.
In any even, speaking as someone that saw the episode way after all that drama went down, the better story was that between Riker and Shelby, IMO. Sorry, but the drama of Locutus of Borg is kind of undercut when I know he'll be fine by the end of part II.
That being said:
I also want to add that re-watching TBOBW should also include "Family" as the third part. Although no where near the amount of action/excitement than the two previous, it's good because it humanizes Picard totally after such an emotional ordeal.