I think this is a good addition to the game.
But have you thought about restricting character or item swapping during a mission?
To me it feels nice to make some meaningful long term choices in a game/game-mode like this.
But the fact that you can always swap a character out with another one for any encounter, and swap equipment/hats back an fourth between characters kinda ruins these choices for me.
You are sneaking around and taking opponents out one by one. The opponents lifepool is bigger than 3 average stealth shots. so you have to use a mutation to kill them.
Now you will have to swap the best stealth weapon around to the mutant that will use his mutation for the upcoming stealth-kill. You also have to this with hats, mutants and also armor if you go loud.
To me, this ruins the importance of the choices i make, and turns the gamemode into a micromanagement mode.
This wasn’t a big problem for me in the main campaign. Because there I just needed kill the opponents. But in the stalker trials game mode, we have to optimize our score, so we need to swap out mutants/items/mutations to maximize our score all the time. (even if it just increases crit chance slightly) - I don’t think this is very fun.
I would much rather spend some time thinking about a perfect loadout for a mission. and then be stuck with that loudout for the entire mission. This way I feel like I would spend more time playing the actual game, instead of hopping around in the character menus. I think that I would be more proud of my highscore too.
Anyway, These are just my thoughts, and i’m not sure it would be a good idea to make this restriction.