youre comparing vanilla m2TW to TATW is not even close. you should be comparing SS to TATW if you want to do that. I personally play both, i just change between when i want a different flavour.
Medieval 2 Total War
Third Age Total War
They are both as good as the other
I played M2TW for years and really enjoyed, but after I started to play TATW I realized how imperfect was the original game in some mechanics.
Anyway, no M2TW no TATW, so I'll keep a place on my heart for it.
TATW hands down, Germanicus battle ai, units the various STRAT file sub mods. All are a great improvement, that said SEGA's original game is the base and I remain complimentary of it.
Now a comparison to SS is a different matter all together, it really depends on my mood. I honestly prefer SS over the TATW main mod, which is why I only play with MOS on top of TATW. RC just changes everything.
I am in fact, a hobbit in all but size― J.R.R. Tolkien