The Romans are a very new civilization to the game, so I think some radical changes could be necessary. So, what if the centurion became a lesser Teutonic Knight? The Romans might need buffs in other ways due to this change. Essentially we have a veteran legionary, who can afford the best of the best armor and has years of combat experience.
I think it’s rather lazy making a centurion yet another cavalry unit. I think the unit should be transformed into a heavy infantry unit, with similar stats to a Teutonic Knight, but a Teutonic Knight will win decisively in a 1v1 fight. In exchange the centurion has more pierce armor, at the cost of far less melee armor.
However, they might need slow creation time, so you can’t just spam centurions from a castle. You need to mix them in with legionary. So, maybe the centurion could be even stronger than a Teutonic Knight, since their numbers are lacking.
The unit should look more like this.
The problem of the centurion is the name, which recall the republic era officer.
The unit in game instead represent a late antiquity officer, which would most likely be on horse as it was the custom for the time.
No that’s a centurion from early empire (before the third century crysis). After gallienus reforms, and then Aurelian and then Diocletian and finally Constantine the Roman empire was no more what people generally think it is. It was a medieval army already, Christian symbols and more cavalry focused to be more mobile against constant invasions.
So centurion being a cavalry unit makes sense even when centurions were not cavalry units but they existed until the very late empire and even in the eastern half. Emperor phocas (602-610) was a centurion and the name just changed to the ##### kentarchios (Heraclius reform in 629) for the Byzantine empire.
The chi ro symbol on the shield is accurate but it’s not the gallic helmet which pertains more to the late republic, early empire. The old crested centurion (scenario only unit) was more accurate in this imho.
We must acknowledge Romans were a completely different beast prior and after 313 (or 284 or even earlier) when Christianity took over, the empires were two and barbarian invasions had start. That’s also why it makes total sense to add Romans in aoe2 totally different from aoe1 Romans (just the symbol: scutum vs round shields).