Resurrecting this thread after doing a search for best mode based game. IMO, LOTR does not have better modes than Hobbit. Especially after 3.0 code release.
Hobbit modes are all so different and rewarding. Some are extremely difficult that make you want to stack a multiball to play, while some are easy and can be done early on to get the arkenstone.
They all have amazing music and theatrics behind them that really put you in the mode. If you're playing this on location where you can't hear the music and callouts then you're really getting a limited perspective of the modes, and the game in general. I've never felt pulled into a game like The Hobbit.
The variety is awesome. They do a great job of pulling in every shot in the game to make some creative, multi-staged modes. They're also non-linear and selectable so you can prevent them from getting stagnant.
The mini wizard modes consists of some of the most fun moments I've had in pinball.
You can probably tell, my favorite mode based game is The Hobbit.