I've wondered if Skyrim would be able to dodge combat criticism if it had some sort of VATS system like fallout does. The quality of shooting is a non-issue in fallout because of that system, and I'd be curious to see the reaction of something like that in an ES game, though it's not something I would actually want to play. The combat never bothered me in Skyrim because I consider it to be an RPG, and so think more of stats and levels than in terms of combat prowess. That being said, Skyrim with an actual, great sword combat system is pretty much my dream game. Just set it in Westeros and I'll have a boner for a month.
I don't really think I would want VATS in this game only because it's so melee-centric. The ranged combat works well enough on it's own to not need it. Just make it like Zeno Clash, even a little bit, and I'll be happy. I feel like they are on their way to something, some of the shouts definitely help, but it's not there yet.
I thought the gunplay in New Vegas was a lot better than Fallout 3, and it needed to be, since you can be shot while in VATS in that game.
Dark Messiah of Might Magic has a fantastic first person melee combat system...I was hoping Skyrim's combat would be like that. Bethesda recently bought the developer (Arkane Studios) who made that game so maybe some of their ideas will bleed over to Bethesda.