So my words to follow may seem harsh but I am actually trying to help you out here.
First of all you have completely failed to describe how the effect of normal mapping is failing to meet your expectations.
What exactly is wrong about it? No one can tell from the screen shot you posted and you didn’t even supply a blend file
so more experienced users can verify your setup. Also it would have helped some if you had shown the screen shots without color maps applied so we get a better idea of the bake and also shown us the baked normal map itself.
“If normal maps are not the way to go then does anyone have any ideas on what I should do?”
What on earth are you talking about? Normal maps have been the defacto standard for like a decade. They are hugely popular.
There is obviously only one possible interpretation. You are either doing something wrong or you somehow imagined normal maps could do something for you that they aren’t able to.
Many tutorials have been made on developing and using normal maps with blender. Why don’t you spend some time going through them
and then if you still don’t get it when you’ve gone through a few you can return with a blend file and next time clearly state your problem. People on BA are generally very helpful but you have to help them help you.